A Night With Mike Schlappi

25 January 2012

After such a ‘downer’ blog post last week, let’s move on to something amazing.  Last Fall, I was attending a conference, and heard a most amazing speaker, Mike Schlappi.  He spoke on overcoming trials and positive outlook.  I was so moved by his presentation, I knew I wanted my family to hear him too.  I spoke with him afterward and we talked about him coming into the school for an assembly.  I came home and tried to find out how to get him here through the district, and ran into a few  walls, and eventually decided to put it on the back burner.

In December, through mutual friends, we connected once again.  This sweet friend contacted Mike and told him again about Tyler and he agreed  to come speak at a fireside in our ward.  I do not think it was a coincidence that our paths crossed again…I knew the youth needed to hear his message and I am so grateful that Mike listened and was willing to sacrifice his precious time to help these kids.  He came last week and shared his amazing story to the youth of our ward and some other surrounding wards.  The whole time he spoke, the audience was completely silent, which isn’t always the case with youth!!! That’s how powerful his story is.  Mike was shot point blank in the chest when he was 14 years old, by his best friend.  That bullet hit his spine and paralyzed him from the waist down.  Mike had been a promising athlete and had plans of becoming a professional athlete.  Instead of letting his tragic circumstances bring him to despair, he almost immediately decided he would make the very best of his situation and be positive – “Happy Schlappi”, as he called himself!  He ended up being a ‘professional athlete’ in the ParaOlympics for four years!  He spoke with us about ‘attitude therapy’ and how to change your position in life
to be heading in the right direction.  Like I said, ‘AMAZING’.  Becky Anderson also shared a wonderful message about handling life’s trials and passed out ‘worry rocks’ to each one in the audience.  We were told to rub our worries into our rocks, then at night, put our rocks on our nightstand, and give our worries to the Creator, the one who knows us the best, and ultimately give them to Him.  She is always AMAZING, and had a deep impact on these kids as well.  She gave worry rocks to our family when Tyler was first diagnosed and shared that story with us.  I have seen more than once a member of my family rubbing their worry rock…

Then Sue Gray, our sweet friend from Salt Lake sang a beautiful song called “Every Little Tear”, reminding us that He sees every heartbreak and sorry we are experiencing and will help us get through our darkest moments.  Can I say AMAZING one more time?!

Well, what a great night…Brandon, Tyler, and Maddie, three ‘rockin’ cancer fighting kids, all got to meet and visit with Mike afterwards and he gave them his book “Shot Happens” (yes, that’s really the title!  I think the sub-title was ‘I got shot…what’s your problem?’)  I read the book in two days.  It is full of life-changing ways to stay positive and headed in the right direction.  I’m going to bribe each one of my kids to read it!!!! It will change the way you view everyday life, I promise!  You can go here to get it, or see clips of his presentation.

Thanks to all those who helped make that night happen.  Becky and I have felt from the beginning of this journey that we needed a night for the youth to deal with these hard things, not just cancer, but all of the trials these youth face on a day to day basis.  Like I said earlier, I
don’t believe in coincidences, I think everything happens just as it should, and I am so grateful this happened ‘just like it should have!’  Thanks again Mike, Becky, and Sue!

Mike, Brandon, Tyler and Maddie - All heroes in my book!

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