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July 20, 2020
WAGR Weekend 2010, held in Gaithersburg, Maryland, was the second IWSA event my family has attended since my sister, Amy, and mother Shari Krantz became involved many years ago. My wife Brittany, brother Casey and his girlfriend Charity, and I had the privilege to host the gym activity time with all the attending children. After the second year in a row we entertained the kids in the gym, we once again came away astonished at the capacity our WAGR children have to deal with adversity. If working with children keeps you young, working with WAGR children gives you the ultimate perspective on life. Before our first visit last year I was not sure what to expect, and quite honestly was nervous about hosting the gym time. As soon as the children began to come in, the reality of the situation set in.
One by one my worries and preconceived notions of what it was going to be like were out the window. With the smiles, jokes, please and thank yous, and the basketballs flying all over gym there was no time for me to feel bad or awkward because the kids were too busy having fun. The joy that came from a couple hours in the gym is amazing and the relationships with the kids that a year later not only remember your name but exactly what you did last year, give you an understanding as to how important this weekend is for the families. We were thrilled to play with all the kids again, and especially enjoyed seeing how many of them had grown and matured.
When my wife and I talked on the way home about the day, we agreed that we both felt privileged to be a part of the WAGR community. This past year served to reinforce for me the importance of not only WAGR Weekend but the ISWA organization in general. In the same way we all can find comfort in our family and friends, my family has found comfort in being able to interact and spend time with other families who can understand our unique struggles. WAGR Weekend offers that opportunity not only for the parents but also gives our children a rare opportunity to be amongst peers who experience some of the same things they deal with on a daily basis. We are looking forward to next year and continuing our new friendships.
Wesley Marshall (brother to Amy Marshall, WAGR, 15 years old, Maryland)
Reprinted from the WINGS newsletter, Fall/Winter 2010
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