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September 21, 2022 3:01 am
On this episode of Our American Stories, when Blair and Cat Cornell found out their son was going to be born with moderate to severe special needs, it changed their lives for good... and they are now using that to change people's lives for the better.
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From someone who's never quite been listens alive as a gringo on the iHeartRadio app or web, you get podcast brought to you by State Farm like a good neighbor, State Farm is there this is Lisa Beebe and this is our American stories to show where Americans the store and the American people search for the all American stories podcast go to the iHeartRadio or River you get your podcast and up. Next we bring you Blair Cornell tell you the story of his family.
Their experience with special needs and what Blair is doing as a result went off to college to Ohio University and that's where I met while my wife Kat. We met freshman year and were good friends for those first couple years and then took the plunge and decided I would get to take this risk to to jeopardize our friendship and maybe date and so glad that we did because we started dating and never look back and have been best friends ever since we graduated in college in 2004 and I convinced Kat to move back to my hometown here in Dayton, Ohio, where he was gonna be working in the family business financial advising wealth management business that I had one to work, and since I was little kid with my dad and she trusted me and believed in that and so she followed me back to Dayton and that's kind of how we ended up here and I got married and 2006 Is a CPA that she was in the accounting field for couple years and then she went on to work with the larger firm LEXIS-NEXIS as a financial analyst and did that for couple of years 2008 came and we had our first child Caitlin was born and changed our lives forever. Shortly thereafter, then we welcomed our second child into the world and that was Carter and that's really where our lives changed significantly in 2010 on August 23, 2010.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. Kat and I were driving in for our 20 week ultrasound and we found out some exciting news that we are having a little boy, but we also found some devastating news that he was gonna be born with moderate to severe special needs. If in fact even survive for us. We had made a decision that we were to make the most of this referral for several weeks then we continue to try to find answers and figure out what was going on.
We went down and had that very good care done in Cincinnati and Cincinnati children's. And that's a top hospital country and we had a great team of physicians that answered a lot of questions and help get us contract for what we were to be expecting.
Meanwhile, Was very sick. She didn't really eat much for about four or five months while she was pregnant with Carter. She was not able to keep any food down. She had extreme hyper emesis which is extreme nausea and that's what prevented her from really being able to eat much that she was on a lot of supplemental nutrition which was taxing for her and for me, no caring for our daughter Caitlin at the time to before Carter was born and so that was a tough time and as our family had to adapt to that and figure that out, but we were also excited for the journey that I was can put us on when Carter was born and then 2011 January 4, 2011.
We welcome Carter Thompson Cornell in the world and that's really when the journey began.
For what God had in store for us in the plan that he had for us that we couldn't foreseen back. We had just Caitlin or before we were just getting married. You think you are to be heading down one path and you realize quickly that there's a bigger plan that we don't know the answer still and so Carter was born in January 4, 2011 and was in the NICU at the hospital for 10 days and then he came home from there we started to adapt to what was gonna be like to live with the child with special needs that when you hear that a child certainly is going to have challenges your heart broken and you go through that denial and that feeling of of sadness and kind of you. II think a lease for me you're a little selfish at first wondering what's this can mean for me and how how much harder to scan to be for me and and houses can change our family and all the plans that we had and how that's no longer going to be exactly the way I had planned it that then I think over time you start to evolve into this is no longer necessarily just about me and a challenge for me, but there's an opportunity for me and for others to to reshape us and to be able to say this is a positive and this is a blessing because at the time, I would've told you I have no idea how would you do this.
I'm not sure I can do this when you're in that moment when you have a child you'll do anything and you find a way Carter surpassed a lot of doctors goals just from the fact that he was born full term. A lot of doctors thought he might have been preterm, which could present more challenges and the fact he was full-term was a big a big win and a big success.
Then in the hospital.
He you had a lot of things that we were sure about like hearing and eyesight tests that seem to be going okay and so then when he came home. There were certain things we didn't have to worry him as much about other things we had more to worry about, but Kat, who is staying home with our kids at the time, spent a lot of time researching and learning what she could anyone lots doctors appointments and be with different specialists and so there were lots of unknowns a lot of uncertainties for those first few years that's really when Carter started taking on his own really doing well and started surpassing. Quite frankly, what we all had expected, and those first two years of his life, Carter. To this day is somebody that we you know always are wondering what's coming next.
But he continues to surprise us in a lot of ways and you been listening to Blair Cornell told the story of his family are having a board.
The bad news is he so initially, this boy would have special needs. That is if you survived all one thing we heard clearly though from Blair is that he was excited to find out more journey God had for him and clearly his faith life and so much to do with how we handle this is initial response was a selfish one I would this affect me as opposed to well might this be an opportunity and when we come back working to find out more about how young Carter changed Blair Cornell's life here on our American store we could be here, the host of our American stories everyday on the show were bringing inspiring stories from across this great country. Doors for big cities and small towns, but we truly can't do the show without our stories are free to listen to, but they're not free to make you love what you hear Florida L American stories.com click the donate button give a little devil will go to L American stories.com is just around the corner and all the material family-friendly section of modern outside air conversations that overhaul usually has the essentials to make your home phone lunch.
No fabulous in-store Ashley.com today need life insurance but have diabetes, high blood pressure or on anxiety meds. If you're a 50-year-old male even Porky or with type II diabetes oh million dollars of life insurance may only cost you about 200 bucks a month for affordable term life insurance called term provider and speak with big fluid 800-700-6898 800-700-6898 or visit Big Blue.com. Remember big losers like you.
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Learning.com back with our American stories and Blair Cornell story after the birth of their first child, Caitlin Blair and his wife Found out that they were about to have another child. Boy who's going to be born with moderate severe special needs. Let's pick up where we last left off in 2006 I was driving home summer night and I came into the house and I looked at Katten she said you got help me and had a really rough day and I don't really know where to go or what to do or how to get Carter back on track. He's had a rough day and I still can I do and she said I don't really know. So I walked over and sat down next to Carter knelt down next to him and say Carter what's going on and he couldn't really talk. He was crying and tears running down his face.
He is very upset and frustrated and I thought well me that you taken for writing my car had a fun convertible time and Sicard you want to go right for writing that is convertible. He looked up at me like a light switch was flipped and said right and that is convertible and he said let's go and so I remember carrying him out to the garage that night. I could just feel his chin resting on my shoulder as we bounced along the way out to the garage and stopped him in the convertible and buckled them up and away we went. And that night I watched all of his fears and tears and frustrations really go away and it was a pretty incredible experience to see just a simple car ride really change his life. And I thought to myself, that was pretty incredible. There's gotta be something more to this and as I talked with more people in Katten experimented, we realized that that was a big trigger for Carter, his special needs they have triggers and some of them many cars for Carter. It certainly cars but also music. Those are triggers that can kinda distract him and put him back on track and really can help reshape how that days can go sector experience with that.
We realize there was more we could do with this and we went to to work in creating a nonprofit that we form that we call joyride and joyride was formed at the end thousand and 16 and we launched our first event in 2017 and joyride is all about kids scars and smiles. That's our tagline. It's pretty simple. It's just getting together kids with some amazing cars to put a smile on their face and it's a pretty simple thing when you think about it, but it's something that can be very moving not only to the kids, but certainly, their families, but I think everybody that comes to our events whether there car driver or their volunteer. It's a way for people to feel fulfilled in their life in getting back to the community of people that tend to get overlooked joyride started out our very first event we had 12 cars and about 45 kids and our biggest event we had 30 cars and almost 150 kids, so probably five, six, 700 people that were there in total. When you factor their families and friends and all the volunteers that was so it's been a fun fun way to see people gathering get back in a big and meaningful way. And as we continue to see joyride grow.
I don't know where to go but I can tell you that with the impact that it had just on me personally it fuels me and continues to push me harder to have more events, bigger events and reach more kids got four kids now, Brady and Davis were born when Carter was just three years old and Brady Davis were born their twins and I would tell you that they have. Even though there several years younger than Carter. They've kind of become a big brother to him in some ways and how they Artie help him and give back in its need to see them be excited to come to joyride events to want to give back in the same way that Carter's older sister Caitlin does and that's really what it's all about is getting an event put together for the community come together, but to realize we can all hit the pause button on us and maybe find a way to get back to others or trying to make this the most the most high-end that we possibly can to make these kids truly feel like a VIP you want to try to bring cars in that our cars you see every day on the street. That's what makes it special. Mixing unique so the cars that we have. There are very unique. We have really typically a lot of exotic really high-end cars like Lamborghinis and Ferraris McLarens and you'll really anything that you would probably turn your head out on the road and think that's not normal that's not something you see every day, at least in most areas, that's all we have our events and I also can have a little chip on my shoulder when it comes to siblings of kids with special needs that they get to do all the sporting events in the sleepovers and everything else and there simply can't and I think it's okay that they get to go to an event and they don't get to write any scars Carter to us and Carter's friends but also special needs do, but their siblings don't and it's not that I'm trying to exclude them. I'm just trying to make it that much more special for our members of joyride which of the kids that have special needs, but I say that the story, a story that sticks out to me the most was at our very first event leader not very first event, there was some who came to our van driver that can prevent he had probably the nicest car at the event. He was driving a Lamborghini event to door, which for those of you they don't know much about cars. It's up to half million dollar car so it's a very expensive car that Lamborghini has handles and performances wells anything out there but this driver looked at it purely as is just a car and it's a car to be used here for today to create happiness for these kids.
He didn't care if kids are staying on the seats. He didn't care if kids were rubbing up against it. He didn't care it was just a car and it was not going to he was going to guard it and not let anybody really get to enjoy it was there for the kids to enjoy and I'll tell you I'm always walking around a little bit and making sure that parents and kids are respecting these cars because they're very expensive cars another body feels like. This driver did. But on this particular day.
This driver was there and I watched his interaction with these kids all day long and after the event. I remember watching in talking to one of the kids. The members from joyride and it was a scene that you will see from a movie he was kneeling down next to this little boy that the boy was telling him about how he was scared because he had some treatments coming up that he wasn't sure how was going to go and this this little boy had chow all kinds of challenges and some pretty intense medical treatments that were coming and this driver knelt down next to him, took his hand off that the boy had kind of taken a liking to and said what I've gone through a lot of medical challenges myself to this hat is my magic That's helped me get through all of that and when I wear this hat. It protects me to make sure that I don't feel that pain. I don't worry is only give you my hat and you wear this hat and that's can help get you through all those challenges and you could see probably 10 volunteers watching the interaction and there are volunteers watching this driver and I pulled him aside at the end of the event and I said I just watch that and it's amazing that you have Outlook and he said look I gone through a really tough time in my life I gone through divorce.
I faced a lot of medical challenges myself and he said I bought this car thinking it would bring happiness to me and it has since been a fun toy to have, but I've never experienced joy with this car, or joy like this in my life before. This is one of the best days of my life and seen that I can help somebody else has really move me.
He said I can't wait to come back and do it again. And that's exactly joyride is all about a terrific job on the story Tony in production by Robbie Davis with special thanks to Blair Cornell for sharing his story, his family story and what he did about what he did about it in his own community. Starting joyride Carter is having a rough day and he thought maybe I can take him for a ride to daddy's convertible by way what parent hasn't thought this at some point or another. To solve a problem. I watched all of his tears and fears go away.
One simple car run.
It was a trigger. While it can distract him and put him back on track. Indeed it did in the scene always have in my mind is the driver and his magic at with that young boy and what it did for the drive as well as the board story of compassion of love of so much more. Blair Cornell's story joyride story fast cars and big smiles here on our American story just around the corner and all the material family-friendly sectional modern outside air conversations that overhauled the essentials to make your home phone lunch. No fabulous in-store Ashley.com today attention Medicare beneficiaries are you getting all the benefits you need. If you have Medicare you may now be able to get new benefits. Benefits may include eyeglasses, wellness visits, gym membership, meal delivery and hearing aids with low co-pay leave refine plans with zero monthly plan premiums zero co-pays on many services and zero deductible calling hundred 832-7597. That's 800-832-7597 800-832-7597 provided technology curriculum to the new list when the first students in the grant program exposed to this technology totally changed any allowed leaders. Learning.com