Friday, June 29, 2012

Jon Stewart Taunts Disabled People

Sunday, June 24 was a wonderful day. Seth participated in the Achilles Foundation 10th Annual Hope and Possibility Race in New York City. Thanks to frequent flyer miles and hotel points accrued from our trips and stays in D.C. this past year, I was able to go to New York to join him. I got there Thursday afternoon, he got there Friday afternoon, and we finally together on race day.

Seth at the starting line
He rode a bus up from D.C. with several other wounded warriors on Friday and they attended a Yankees came that evening. On Saturday, his group went on a harbor boat tour, rode in a speed boat, visited the 9/11 Memorial and probably one more thing that I can't remember now. I was busy seeing the city with my friend Sally Evans.

On Sunday morning, we met Seth at the starting line with his sponsors Sue and Adrian who made up Team Seth. Sue came from Michigan where her husband works for GM, the sponsor of the wounded warrior Freedom Team. Adrian's brother was injured in Iraq in 2006 and is now married to one of the organizers of the event, so she has been an Achilles volunteer for several years.
Team Seth

I wasn't sure if I would be able to walk with Seth, but I was and I did--along with Sally. Seth joked about us being his stalkers, and I told him the curse of his life was that his stalkers were all women over 40.

at the finish line
We all walked the entire five miles (OK, Sally and I took one shortcut, but only so we could get ahead to take pictures) and had a difficult time keeping up with Seth--he had a very fast pace. A friend from high school who lives in New York came to cheer us on with three of her kids, and that meant a lot. As we walked, we saw people who were blind, people in wheelchairs--powered and pushed, people with cerebral palsy, people with Down's syndrome and, of course, people with various numbers and types of prosthetic limbs. Some people ran, others walked, some rode bikes or handbikes, others propelled wheelchairs. All participants had volunteers to accompany them every step of the way. It was all very inspiring.
Team Seth
with stalker Sally Evans

We walked the perimeter road of Central Park, which was surprisingly hilly. It was a beautiful day--in the 80s, a respite from the previous days' temperatures in the high 90s.

Also in attendance was comedian Jon Stewart. He joined the Freedom Team and walked with some of the wounded warriors. Before the race, the race emcee called him to the stand to say a few words. Mr. Stewart told how he had walked the race the previous year and it had inspired him to train for it this year, so, he said, "I'm going to kick all of your a****!"

As Seth and I stood waiting for the race to start (the standing and waiting was more difficult for him than the walking), he said, "I can just see the headline in tomorrow's newspaper: 'Jon Stewart Taunts Disabled People.'" I didn't see it in the New York Times and consider it a definite oversight, so I thought it had better be used as a headline somewhere, so I used it here.

Jon Stewart with the Freedom Team
At the end of the race, Mr. Stewart hung around with the guys, so I asked Seth if he wanted his picture taken with him, knowing he wouldn't. I said, "What if he wants his picture taken with you?" That would be all right, but, Seth said, "He wouldn't because I'm only a single, below-knee amputee." We noted that, yes, the more severely injured often do get more attention than others. Seth reflected, "The ones I really feel sorry for are the guys with TBI (traumatic brain injury)" because that is not visible. I told him that I bet many of them are probably relieved not to have the attention, but certainly others notice and wonder.

It was time to go much too soon. Seth headed off on his bus to a lunch and then back to Bethesda, and Sally and I headed back to our hotel and then home. It was a quick trip but so worth it. Thanks to the Achilles Foundation for such a wonderful event.


  1. I'm so glad you were able to meet Seth AND walk with him! It sounded like an amazing event. As always, I miss you and thank you for sharing!

  2. I remember the day my brother got the call about Seth's accident. I was there with all my family and there were immediate tears and fears. Soon after, my brother told me about this blog, and I have read every single post since. I check it everyday to see any updates there might be. You and Seth are so inspirational on so many levels. Thanks for sharing a part of your very personal lives with the rest of us. Glad Seth is doing so well. I can't believe how far he's come in a year. What a Guy!