Meet Alan, he is bed bound, medically and physically fragile, and coolest person I have ever met. Alan has cerebral palsy and spina bifida and 99% of the time he is in his bed, unable to go anywhere or do anything (except watch his favorite game shows and wrestling DVDs). The other 1% of the time he spends at the doctor’s office. Alan has been in and out of the hospital all of his life, with a total of 49 surgeries thus far, and 100% of that time he has a smile on his face. As I always tell him– he sure is a trooper.
Alan has completely changed my life. He has made me slow down, look around, and realize what is important in life. He has helped show me more laughter, love, and compassion than I ever thought was possible. He has welcomed me in as a part of his family.
When I first met Alan, I could not help but to feel sorry for him, seeing him cooped up in that bed all day. Especially with my current Wanderlust, I could not imagine staying in one place all the time. I was completely determined to talk his papa(his caretaker) into going on an outing to the park or to Alan’s favorite restaurant, Denny’s, for an afternoon. But after much explanation and picture proof, I have come to terms that it is too risky to take Alan anywhere. Being on a continuous feeding tube, having harsh skin breakdowns, and owning a wheelchair that does not fit Alan’s needs, makes traveling nearly impossible.
“But who said that you have to leave your bed to travel the world?”
Alan and I have started a project this year to facetime someone in all 50 States. This way, he will make it around the US in 1 year. Alan absolutely loves this. I have never seen someone so excited to meet new people, see new cities, and ask silly questions. Every day that I go and visit Alan, the first thing he says is “Who are we going to facetime today?”. And let me tell you, his memory is too good. After we facetime people, he is always asking me how they are, what they ate for dinner, and how their parents are doing. He remembers silly things they have said, pictures they have sent, and smiles that they gave. I am not sure if it is necessarily the scenery around that he loves, but the compassionate person on the other side of the screen taking interest in and showing love to Alan.
We currently have 31 states and need your help to finish this journey. I leave Savannah July 15 and would love to cross each state off this list before then! If you or anyone you know lives in these states, please reach out to me! I promise this will only take about 5 minutes and it will make your day, if not your week. (Also, if you live in another state and still want to facetime, let me know. Alan loves to meet anyone and everyone)!
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
Compassion, Laughter, Love. That’s all you need.
Abby Rieker: Savannah, GA
UPDATE: Thank you for all of your support! Abby and Allen have just 7 states left: Oregon, Lousiana, Delaware, Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, and Vermont. We will be emailing anyone who leaves a comment about these states!