It has been a little while since we have last blogged about out resilient QB. Sometimes it seems life can hit you so hard you have to pray to even find the words to share. Well that is where we have been the last couple of months.
Much has transpired since our last update, though in many ways we now feel like we are back to square one, we have also seen Elijah grow in determination more than ever before. He daily continues to have pain in his leg, and struggles to once again do the things that so many times we take for granted: run, jump, play. Despite the obstacles he refuses to give up, slow down, or stop.
After Lacrosse in the spring, Elijah, for the first time in 2 1/2 years got the chance to begin focusing on playing football, the sport he loves more than life itself. As his coach for many years I knew how hard it was going to be on him, but as his dad I have never been more proud of any person in my entire life. Every single day I would watch him run with a limp pushing aside the pain for the prize. He was and is so full of faith saying to us all the time, “Mom and Dad, I will keep training every day, so when God heals me I will be ready to go.” His single goal, overcome the disease and become the QB for the 7th grade Tigers. Through summer workouts he would run and train as hard as he could, never making excuses because of the pain, through the laughs of other kids because of his loss of speed and of his limp, he refused to get discouraged, he just kept going strong, to do what our first surgeon told us was not possible, “Have Elijah take up an instrument because he will never play sports again.”
As 7th grade football practice started this year, his determination grew to play QB. Day after day we would drop him off and pray, “God, not only protect his body, but even more so his mind and heart to never give up, never lose faith. God, give him a victory in whatever way you see fit.”
Many would ask or wonder, “Why let Elijah continue to play?”
Our answer was simple, “Because he may never get another chance to do what he loves again.”
On August 16th, his hard work paid off….Though just a scrimmage, coach said to him “Elijah you’ll be playing the QB position today!” We know for most people that would be good news, for us, it brought tears to our eyes, because we saw a kid defy the odds and do what doctors said couldn’t be done. As we watched him play that day, we watched not from a football standpoint, but as parents we took in a moment of pride regardless of the outcome. He played well 3 of 4 passing, threw a TD pass and all we remember was seeing our QB1 stand out there as a man of God, which was nothing short of a miracle. It was so rewarding to see him lead, strategize, and work in tandem with his team.
On August 17th, we had a different experience. After waiting for over a month to hear from Dr. Whitlock to give us the findings of the “Hip Summit” he had with specialists from around the country about Elijah we were delivered devastating news once again. Elijah’s hip, femur and pelvis were completely disfigured. We were told that he is facing his biggest surgery to date. One that would require multiple surgeons, 12 hours on the surgery table, and the “hope” this would save his hip and leg.
So, here we are again. Dr. Whitlock scheduled his surgery and suggested we reach out to other hip specialists around the country to make sure this is the right move for Elijah and us. We took the news much harder than he did. Elijah just asked Dr. Whitlock 3 questions…. 1) Can I finish the football season before doing the surgery? YES, IF YOU CAN CONTINUE TO HANDLE THE PAIN. 2) If I do the surgery how long until I can start training for football next year? IF ALL GOES WELL YOU COULD POTENTIALLY BE CLEARED TO PLAY IN 9 MONTHS. 3) Can we schedule it in November so I can be ready for 8th grade football? (Dr. grinning at his determination) WE WILL TRY, ELIJAH….
So our next surgery is scheduled for November 27th at Cincinnati Children’s if we elect to do it here. Over the next several weeks, we will travel to Philadelphia, Detroit, St. Louis, and possibly Boston to meet with doctors as we search for answers to help our boy.
For the past several years, it has been a wave of emotions, devastating news, glimmers of hope, surgery, hard work, and more devastating news. We chose to share this journey of pain with so many never for sympathy, but so you can see our faith in Jesus on display. We will never understand the why’s of any of this, but we do trust that our God IS bigger than this disease, our God is doing miracles in our boy, and our God will never leave us of forsake us. We know a miracle is being played out before our eyes and that our son is being crafted into a man of God who has been set apart.
Also, if life wasn’t crazy enough in Walters World, Elijah has a dream in his heart and vision in his mind to start a Foundation to help young disabled athletes play the sports they love. Next summer he is hoping and praying to pull off the QB1-Limp Strong Sports Camp. Though it is still a long way off and a lot can happen, its another determined drive to keep going and help others….
Trusting more than ever,
Shayne and Tiffany….#tackleperthes