Posts Tagged ‘ kids and sports ’

What It Means To Do Things Like A Girl

Thursday, July 10th, 2014


The feminine care company, Always, is trying to change how we think about the phrase “like a girl.” They recently came out with a new campaign to support their cause. Since it debuted on June 26, the #LikeAGirl video message has been viewed about 32 million times on YouTube.

In the video, people are asked to perform certain actions as a girl. Both men and women run, throw, and fight in a dramatically negative, weak, and ditzy way. Then young girls are asked the same questions. They perform in a way that gave me chills, filled with strength and confidence.

Watching this made me immediately think of my 16-year-old sister, Kendall. She is the most athletic person I know. Most of her life has been spent on sports teams—from softball to cheerleading. As stated in the commercial, “a girl’s confidence plummets during puberty.” At 12, my sister won a national championship with her competitive cheer team. As a base, she lifted girls the same size as her to do elaborate stunts. But my sister has never valued her athleticism. We grew up in a town that glorifies football players. Girls sports, on the other hand, are side notes. Even though she went to cheer practice six days a week for the past six years and runs three miles a day, Kendall does not have as much pride in her athleticism as a boy her age with the same athletic drive as her would. The highlights in her hair and the shirt she just bought at the mall seem to be more laudable than the amount of flips she can do without stopping and how fast she can go around the track.

But my sister isn’t the only girl who feels this way. Girls’ athleticism is generally undervalued. #LikeAGirl proves this. Most of all, the underlying message is doing things like a girl makes one appear weaker than boys.

Doing things like a girl truly means doing things like my sister—with persistence, passion, and focus. It means achieving goals and not being afraid to show strength. No matter how old your daughter is, fostering confidence in her physical skills is essential and to encourage her to be proud of being a girl.


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Raising Awareness Through The USA Special Olympic Games

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Tomorrow marks opening day of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in Princeton, New Jersey and 17-year-old Whitney Lackey of Lebanon, Tennessee is gearing up for competition. Diagnosed at 2 months with tuberous sclerosis complex (TS or TSC), Whitney is participating in her first ever national competition.

A condition that affects about one million people worldwide and 50,000 people in the U.S., TS is characterized by non-cancerous tumors in many different organs. Seizures, developmental delays, intellectual disabilities and autism are also associated with the disorder. Whitney’s first seizure was what brought her to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital the day she was eventually diagnosed. Through MRI testing, the doctors discovered lesions on her brain and a black light revealed white spots on her skin—another sign of TS.

The Lackeys took their daughter to a clinic dedicated to tuberous sclerosis at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (though Vanderbilt opened a clinic later in 2007). “Her doctors gave us a very grim diagnosis,” says Sharon. “They said she would probably never walk and never talk.” Still, Whitney began occupational and physical therapies at just 8 months to help treat her developmental delays. At 21 months, she took her first step, but it was not until age 4 that she walked well. Yet her biggest obstacle was her constant seizures.

After much experimentation with different medications, the doctors managed to get Whitney’s seizures under control. “She went from having 50 a day from the age of two months until age 4,” says Sharon. “In the last 5 or 6 years she’s been seizure-free.” Though she still has non-malignant tumors in her brain, left eye, and kidneys, she is in stable health and will be representing Team Tennessee at the Special Olympics in the bocce event. “If you had told me back then that she would be going to the USA Olympics…,”  Sharon sighed.”It’s just a miracle.” While Whitney is developmentally behind, she is a happy, social teen excited to spend time with her friends at the Olympics.

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“She just loves to be outside and loves sports of any kind,” said Sharon. In fact, bocce was not Whitney’s first sport. She was first on the local Special Olympics swim team and it was her swim coach, Melody Engle, who got Whitney started in bocce. “We’ve always been her biggest fan and proud of her and it just makes us happy that other people get to see what we see and realize how special she is,” said Sharon.

As for her father, Brent, there is no better Father’s Day present than to see his daughter succeed and the Lackeys have joined up with Novartis and the TS Alliance to raise awareness about the disease and the need for more education and research. “Other people whose kids are diagnosed with TS should know that it’s not all gloom and doom,” says Sharon. “You can lead a very happy, positive, fun, active life.”

Follow the Lackeys and their Special Olympics experiences on Tumblr.

Click here for more information about the TS Alliance.

Baby Care Basics: When a Baby Has a Birth Defect
Baby Care Basics: When a Baby Has a Birth Defect
Baby Care Basics: When a Baby Has a Birth Defect

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