June 7 – Racing for HoPE 2014

Last week Kai Adkins took a trip to Victory Lane as I took the checkered flag for my first win in a late model!  High fives to Kai!

Skylar McKenzie Black - Racing for HoPE 2014

Skylar McKenzie Black

Riding along with me this week is Skylar McKenzie Black who celebrated her 2nd birthday on May 26.  Skylar is the daughter of Tony and Julie Black from Hico, Texas, and I’m looking forward to meeting Skylar and her family in October at the Family Conference of Holoprosencephaly (HPE) in Dallas, Texas.

I’ve been racing for several years now, and while the victory last week was sweet, it followed years of struggles, frustration, and disappointment.  There were times when I wondered if we would ever see another victory, and I questioned if it was worth all of the effort.  Life with HPE brings all of those things too.  Skylar has  been diagnosed with semi-lobar HPE, and as a result, she is unable to sit independently, crawl, stand by herself or walk.  What seems so natural and easy for many of us is a major challenge for Skylar and other children with HPE.  Her mom tells me Skylar does not let these struggles slow her down, and she always has a happy disposition and a friendly smile for others.  (This is the same philosophy I try to follow when racing incidents occur that take me out of a race.)

It is important to Skylar’s family that we all be reminded that there is HoPE and that miracles happen every day.  As Skyler’s mom Julie said, “We were not promised that Skylar would live past six months let alone her first birthday, but here are having celebrated a 2nd birthday! Skylar is doing a lot of things that she is not supposed to be doing, and granted, she is still struggling with some of the smaller tasks that most babies can do, but we have HoPE that she will do them one day.  I don’t listen to those voices that tell me my child won’t do something when they have not even given her the chance to try.”

So, little Miss Skylar, are you ready?  I know that you’re a cowgirl from Texas, but we will be using a different kind of horsepower today when the green flag drops.  Let’s giddy up and take these horses to Victory Lane tonight!



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Posted in HoPE, Racing, Racing for HoPE 2014

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