Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Surfers Healing VB '12 = AWESOMENESS X 1,000!

This amazing video was shown on the local news and is currently on the CNN website. :)

Once again, I am absolutely astounded at the amount of social growth in a year, that Ashton has made. From Surfers Healing VB 2010 to 2011 was a remarkable change, but WOW. The change from Surfers Healing VB 2011 to 2012 was absolutely amazing! We were at the beach from 7am (Ashton rode in the Surfers Healing 5K with Team Hoyt while Holden ran with Team Hoyt and David also ran the 5K) until 4pm! Outside, in the sun, for 9 hours! THAT IS VIRTUALLY UNHEARD OF for Ashton! He generally hates the sun and normally isn't a fan of the sand either.

So, to start off. The guys in my family participated in the Surfers Healing 5K. Ashton rode with Marc Leber, Michael Davis and of course, Holden all helping to push him with Team Hoyt. Holden ended up having to back off and ended up running with Jenny Dugan and William. David kind of ran back by himself :) Michael finished with a time of 23:24, Marc pushed Ashton to the finish line at 23:25 and Holden finished with a time of 30:44. David finished with a time of 41:12. All great times! Ashton had a blast (as usual) and I think everyone else did too!

Michael, Marc, Holden & Ashton - before the race
Ashton's Team & Ainsley's Angels - SIBLING TEAMS ROCK!
Ashton and Ainsley are ready to go!
Team Hoyt - ready to start........ ready, set......
GO!!!! ....... and they're off!
Michael, Marc & Ashton coming into the finish line!
Thanks for the fast ride Michael & Marc!
Holden, Jenny & William crossing the finish line! WTG!
David coming into the finish line - Great job honey!
Team Ashton totally rocked the SHVB 5K! WTG Guys!
Holden, William and Jenny chilling out after an awesome race!
As you can see, the Surfers Healing 5K race was a total success! I have so many pictures I could share, but well, I'd never get this post done. Suffice it to say that we're very proud of all of the Team Hoyt runners and rider athletes. Of course, we're also very proud of Dad who ran a good race too! 

Before I move on to the surfing part of the day, there's an image I want to share with you all.
This beautiful image was captured by Danny Holland of Virginia Beach. It absolutely personifies the passion, the loyalty, the emotion, the absolute healing powers of Surfers Healing. Josh Tracy is the remarkable rookie Surfers Healing surfer who carried this young child out into the surf in Virginia Beach on August 18, 2012. It was raining, yet he was still out there, giving it his all. This absolutely was my favorite image of the day and it wasn't one that I took, nor was it even of my child. Kudos Josh Tracy for your dedication and to Danny Holland for capturing this beautiful image! To see more images of Danny's from the day, please go to his Facebook album, found HERE and enjoy the rest of the heart-capturing images!

So, next we move into the Surfers Healing area on the beach. We get signed in, got Ashton's goody bag and get ready because Ashton's surf time was at 9am! We got to be a part of the opening prayer ceremony. What a heart-warming and soul-cleansing experience. 
What a way to start of a day of healing!

Then, the call came for 9 'o' clock surfers to get in line to get their life jackets and 
Surfers Healing VB 2012 was officially starting! 

You see that SUPER HUGE smile Ashton has on his face?
This is precisely why I will do anything I can, to ensure he gets to experience
the joy, love and healing of Surfers Healing every year :)
Marc (Ashton's runner) was standing in line with Ashton to get his life jacket on and I had went to scope out a spot on the  beach so I could watch. I never in my life, thought I would hear what I was about to hear. They had asked Ashton if he wanted to surf ON HIS OWN, and he replied happily and excitedly "YES!" - OMG! MAJOR freakout moment for me going "he can't do that!" OH YES YOU CAN!! (I should know that phrase so well by now, since it's Team Hoyt motto!). I was shocked! He LOVED it! He did freak out a moment or two when he wiped out but he did SO well! He never stood on the board, but he rode the board in on his belly all the way to the sand, would turn the board around and go surf again. He was out there for an hour - having a blast!

CHECK HIM OUT!!! Riding that wave ALL ON HIS OWN!!!
Whoops - Boy overboard!!!
Look at how relaxed he is!! feet crossed up on the board and he's having the time of his life riding those waves in!
To make this an even MORE magical experience - there were LOTS of dolphins in behind all the kids
just riding the waves along with them!

So then ..... it was over. The surfing part of the day for Ashton that is. He proudly stood with his medal and lei that was given to him and proclaimed himself the WINNER (for the 2nd time that day! :))

Yes, you my son, are indeed THE WINNER! That winning smile, those gorgeous eyes and your infectious personality, you ARE a winner! People adore being around you, and you make people BETTER people for knowing you! 

So ..... the social growth I mentioned earlier? Wow. Amazing the difference in a year. For one, he was SO happy and social with just about anyone who came over to talk to us. He LOVED seeing all the little kids and got so excited about seeing all the babies out there on the beach. He ADORES babies (almost to an annoying extreme, really) but he does pretty well with instructions of no touching unless you ask or gentle touches. Funny, a couple of years ago babies made him squirm because of the noises and crying. He's growing up! He enjoyed socializing with his Grandparents, his cousins and most of all, just had fun hanging out on the beach, as long as he had his sunglasses on! 

We got to meet one incredible man this weekend, 'Doc' Dorian Paskowitz, 
91-year-old surfer, father of Izzy, doctor and all-around awesome guy!

Ashton and 'Doc'
The speech he gave when he arrived brought tears to many of the parents who were standing around. Guilt. Do not have it. Nothing *WE* did, caused our children to be autistic. Love yourself, Love your child and do the best that you can. Words we can all apply to our everyday lives. What a sweet man! I loved having the pleasure to meet him and talk with him for a few moments.

Then, we got to see Izzy again! I'm not totally convinced Izzy remembered us (well, until I mentioned the cool man sunglasses and the picture that made it into our Christmas cards last year), but we had a blast seeing him again and having him sign our book "Scratching the Horizon".

Ashton (hugging Izzy), Izzy and Holden .... :) LOVE THIS PICTURE!
Love what Izzy wrote in the book :) Thanks Izzy!
Well, around 2:30pm they were wrapping up with the last of the kids that hadn't gotten to surf. I went and asked, would it be possible for kids to go back out again. So, happily, Ashton got to go back out and surf again, THIS time with a surfer, Kalani Brown. Nope, not the same Kalani from previous years, but Ashton enjoyed surfing with this one too! I got quite a giggle out of this experience because every time they rode the board to shore, Kalani would ask me "can he have one more ride Mom?" - how could I resist? so of COURSE I said YES! :) Ashton was out in the water for another hour and did ride the board in by himself a few times again! Unfortunately, I had hubby take my DSLR home with him when he went home around 12:30. Also, I forgot that I had my little point & shoot camera with me, D'oh! But I did catch a couple of cute shots with my iPhone :)

It was a truly wonderful, beautiful, healing day. Sure, it DOWNPOURED around 10:30 that morning for about 20minutes. It had everyone running for cover, well, except the extremely passionate and dedicated surfers, they were still out in the water with the kids. :) The boys had fun, made new friends, I got to connect with people I normally am online with, and it was in general a beautiful, healing day. Ashton loves the water, loves the surfers and just well, enjoys this one day. I enjoy it for many different reasons. The sense of community, the day free of judgement, and the smiles, tears, hugs that go around will forge friendships that are long-lasting.

We can't wait until Surfers Healing 2013!