I'm so proud of all of the Rudy nominees. In a difficult world, they are our hope for a better future. They are all inspirational in their own ways and very deserving of this award. I feel it is an honor for my son to be considered amongst the finalists.
Shane's story is just one of hard work his entire life. Although he finds ways to compensate and make his motor processing and motor coordination delays less pronounced, they still exist. Shane was my first child and I didn't realize anything was different about him until he was around age 4. I remember picking him up one day from day care and the owners telling me they tied Shane's hand to a kitchen chair while eating to try to teach him how to use silverware like the other children, rather than using his fingers and being so messy. Shortly after this incident I put him in a different day care and later his new teachers recommended he be tested. Although they thought he was the most loving child, they felt he was developmentally behind the other children. At almost age 5, he was unable to draw simple shapes, color or cut within the lines, had difficulty hopping, skipping, or running without falling, and had a hand tremor when concentrating on fine motor tasks. It was explained after testing, in a very simplified way, that Shane is smart - his brain knows what to do but his fingers or the body parts trying to recreate a specific movement don't always want to cooperate.
One of the most inspiring things about Shane though, is that if he doesn't do something well, he just keeps trying harder until he succeeds . When it comes to playing football, Shane doesn't worry about his small size or coordination skills -- it was actually Shane's size, toughness and heart that led his football coach to nominate him for the Rudy Award. He is used to overcoming obstacles and defying the odds. Instead he just puts his whole heart and mind into it and he is successful . If he thinks it in his mind, he does it. I'm the parent in this relationship, but it is often Shane who teaches me the valuable life lessons. Watching the way he lives his life and continually tackles challenges, inspires and motivates me.
I would like to thank everyone for voting for Shane or for considering him for this prestigious award. No matter what, he is already a winner and will always be so in my heart.