Surfing is one of those sports that satisfies the curiosity of the thrill seeker. Even with a complex medical diagnosis, I knew from an early age, my daughter was adventurous. She seemed to have a strength during her therapies that would surprise even her therapists. She had an inquisitiveness to her when we would explore places she had never been. The thought of her not being able to be the person I knew she wanted to be, as a parent, was paralyzing.
In the first few years of her Rett Syndrome diagnosis, we were barely surviving emotionally. Our lives became very medical. Doctor visits, therapies, advocating and specialists. Our world became small. On a trip to visit my husband’s parents in Atlantic Beach, NY, we discovered Surf for All. Magnolia had surfed before but it was for a day and her dad was in the water with her. We were hesitant at first, because she is very complex. Some days she can’t stand in the morning. How was she going to surf? She needs assistance when swimming. Would this be a safe activity for her if we aren’t in the water? She needs a computer to communicate. Will they be adaptable to her nonverbal communication?
I was terrified but knew we needed to try this. The first day at Surf for All, I cried. It was the most beautiful experience for Magnolia, and for me. The instructors, the volunteers, and the kids were all amazing and accepting from the moment they met her. Jeanine has created the most beautiful summer memories that will truly last a lifetime. Magnolia is thrilled to be a part of Skudin surf camp and absolutely loves her Surf for All team.
All my worries and concerns were washed away with the tide. Magnolia loves surfing and this would not be possible without the community that comes together to make this sport adaptable for her.
You can follow Magnolia’s adventures at @magnoliashope.