Whether Linda Countryman is boating, water skiing or fishing, it is hard for her not to smile. She is visiting Bartlett Lake with her 26-year-old son, John, and she couldn’t be happier.
“Seeing him active and seeing him smiling and seeing him enjoy himself, as a mother, what more could you ask for?” Countryman said. “I am glad he is alive.”
Six years ago John was in a serious motorcycle accident that left him in a coma for three days.
When he finally awoke, he struggled with his brain injury.
“He couldn’t remember five minutes to the next five minutes,” Countryman said. “We later found out he had lost pretty much 90 percent of his vision.”
The recovery process has been a long and difficult road.
“His disposition throughout this whole ordeal has been amazing,” Countryman said.
But together, they have made it through the most difficult of times.
“I thank God for blessing me with an angel as mother,” said John. “She has been there for me since day one of my accident giving me her love, support and friendship.”
John still suffers from vision problems which sometimes limits the things he can do. But this weekend on the lake, there are no limits.
“I get to get out and be active and do things I wouldn’t be able to do without all these amazing people that set up the event,” John said.
Each year the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital host the ‘Day on the Lake’ event.
“We are celebrating our 17th year of integrated adapted water sports provided for people with physical and neurological disabilities.” said Jo Crawford, program coordinator at St. Joseph’s Barrow Connection.
Approximately 150 people took part in this life-changing experience. Participants were able to enjoy water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, kayaking and boat rides.
“A lot of these families who have children with disabilities spend a lot of time at the doctor’s office, going to therapy and going to the hospital,” Crawford said. “So this is so beneficial to the healing of the family. It is so beneficial to having fun with your children and your parents again.”
As for Countryman on this Mother’s Day weekend, flowers and a nice dinner can’t compare to riding the waves with her son.
“It is one of the best mother’s day gifts I could ask for,” Countryman said.
For more information on this event or Barrow Connection, visit http://www.thebarrow.org/Education_And_Resources/The_Barrow_Connection/index.htm