Gratitude from LifePath's 2017 Family of the Year

Remarks from the 2017 Family of the Year

(Alice Mudge shared experiences and heart-felt gratitude at the LifePath Thanksgiving Benefit and Awards luncheon, which had nearly 600 attendees)

It is with overwhelming gratitude we accept this award. I would like to especially thank Denise Heberling for nominating us. We have worked with Denise nearly all these 30 years - longer than any other staff person at Coplay. She loves Chris like a brother and cares for him like he was her own child.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. In Christopher’s case, that village is LifePath and they have provided him a home and family far beyond what we could have ever dreamed of in 1987 when he arrived at Coplay.

Those first weeks and the first year were hard on all of us. But as time passed and we worked with the staff for Chris’s benefit, we saw him adapting to his new situation, the girls who worked at Coplay showered him with attention and yes, Chris had them wrapped them around his little finger. We can’t possibly name all the people that have worked with Chris over the years, but we are grateful for all that have loved him, cared for him, sat with him in the hospital, taken him to doctor’s appointments, Halloween parades, Christmas parties, Iron Pigs games, the Velodrome, bowling, dancing, a weekend at the shore and the list goes on. Please know, our hearts are full of love for each and every one – because of LifePath his life has been extraordinary.

 Christopher is a joyful spirit. He loves his family, he loves his girls. He’s a hugger. He has known the pain of loss and the heights of joy – especially as we’re heading down the road at 60 mph in our friend’s convertible or meeting Snow White during the night light parade in Disney World. He can turn my day around with just a smile, and if bells are involved that smile will be followed by a hearty laugh or yelp. Chris does not talk, but he has never been silent. He’s a man of many expressions, a man who loves life, even with all its limitations.

 When people meet Chris and say, “what a shame” that he has such severe disabilities, I often respond, “why is it a shame?” Yes, a life without disabilities is certainly preferred, but for Christopher it’s the only life he has known. It’s a life that has brought him much joy, great friendships, a freeing spirit to express himself as he is able, and a family that loves him without end.

 In the words of Rebecca Grubbs, the Coplay supervisor, “his spirit is amazing.”

 Thank you, LifePath for the many ways you have fed his spirit, shared his life, and given him love beyond all measure. He knows he is loved. He’s a happy, happy guy and for that we are very, very grateful parents.  

Thank you for this honor.
Glynnis Rea and Alice Mudge