Guest post by Jill Anne Castle, mom to Oliver, 11, and Anthony, 13 and living with Duchenne. Jill is an Educational Consultant and PPMD FACES of Arizona Volunteer Coordinator.

Spiritual Journey to the Arches

Oliver, Anthony, Cola, and I began to hike to the Arch and realized it was going to be way too hard. We didn't have enough water and everyone coming down was saying we would never make it.

Anthony begged for me and Oliver to get him up there and I felt sad and unprepared. All of a sudden a man from no where offered to run down and get us water and gatorade so we could continue our journey. 

Behind us appeared an Italian family who could barely speak English. They offered to help me and Oliver carry Anthony. We declined after hearing it was a good hour and a half uphill. They insisted. The mother stated it would be an honor for her boys to learn. The dad picked up the chair and began to continue without my permission.

Before long, people from all over the trail began joining us and took turns carrying Anthony. It was the most moving, amazing display of humanity. By the time we reached the top, there were a pack of 15 people and everyone was cheering and yelling.

Oliver said "I can't believe this is happening! Who does this happen to?" It was so amazing and we reached the Arch right in time to see the sun go down. 

The impact this young man has on people is incredible! Everyone was thanking us for the experience of helping him. Words can not express how grateful I felt at that moment.

Oliver said, "Mom, I am so lucky to have AC as my brother." I replied, "He's very lucky too buddy." He said, "Yea, you are right, he gets to do some neat things." I smiled and said, "No, buddy. I meant to have you as brother." Oliver and I shared a hug and some tears. 

Our new beautiful Italian Friends. As we began to leave I realized there were a ton of people standing around staring at us. A gal walked over and said, "They are all waiting for you to go down, they want to help."

At that moment a man from Poland stepped up and said, "Please mamm, we are all very inspired. Please let us all carry him." In the dark, almost 20 people took turns carrying Anthony and flashlights for the hour and a half journey down.

This is it my friends, this day is what it's all about. Community, love, connection, gratitude and being present enough to notice miracles....

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Comment by Jill Keenan on September 12, 2013 at 10:03am

What a beautiful experience!!  Definitely brought tears to my eyes.  What a blessing for all involved to be part of such a moving moment!  One I am sure no one will forget!  Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Brian Denger on September 9, 2013 at 6:16pm

Miracles happen.  We just need to notice.  Thanks for sharing yours.

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