I’ve got to admit it. I’m hooked.
Out of the more than 1300 stories I’ve written for Bham Now, the ones I enjoy most are about the people at United Ability.
Two and a half years ago, I wrote my first United Ability story after taking a personal tour of the campus with 2017 Journey of Hope honoree Dr. Mark Cohen.
We visited Hand in Hand Early Learning Program, the Ability Clinic under the direction of Dr. Charley Law, and the LINCPoint Adult Day Program. A tour that was supposed to take 30 minutes to an hour lasted 2 hours.
This might sound a little corny, but that day I fell in love with the people at United Ability.
Simply put, it is the most inspirational place in Birmingham.
Learn how you can support United Ability – HERE.
Stories that touched us in 2019
In 2019, I wrote 11 stories about United Ability. This holiday season, we wanted to share the ones that touched us the most deeply in a year review.
Join us on that journey. Here are my favorites
Story #1—Move over Bo Jackson. Meet two-sport athlete Chris Biggins at United Ability’s abiliTEE on April 25
Calling Chris Biggins the next Bo Jackson is not hyperbole. Name an athlete that is both a professional golfer and downhill skier? What I liked most about this story is the friendship between Chris and Dr. Charlie Law, United Ability’s Chief Medical Officer.
“He’s like a doctor and a friend at the same time. Our appointment doesn’t end when I leave his office. He’s always constantly thinking about what he can do. You can tell he’s not just showing up and blasting through patients. He genuinely cares for all of us.” ~ Chris Biggins
Story #2—United Ability employs over 70 people with disabilities in Birmingham. Find out how they do it.
As an avid recycler, United Ability’s Gone for Good program interests me. It was a real treat to be given an insider’s tour of their operation. Several numbers impressed me most about the program.
44,000 pounds to 100,000 pounds of paper recycled weekly.
I also loved meeting Big Ced and Little Ced.
Story #3 —‘It’s Me!’ Four-year-old Claire Haynie, the face of the United Ability car tag campaign
One of the biggest perks of working on United Ability stories is meeting the kids and their families. This year in particular, two girls were a joy to work with this year—Claire Haynie and Morgan Payne.
One of my favorite stories I heard from a parent in 2019 came from Claire’s dad when he described Claire’s daily reaction seeing herself on the banner at United Ability.
Here is an excerpt from the story:
“Claire’s father Jason concluded, there is a big banner out in front of United Ability with Claire on it. Every time we drop her off she points at it and gleefully says… “it’s me.”
Story #4-See how a t-shirt can make a difference in Birmingham with families like the Paynes. Celebrate United Ability Day on May 17.
I will always remember my visit with the Payne family and watching (and singing) “baby shark” videos with Morgan. I didn’t want to leave.
Her mom and dad are so proud of her.
Story #5—See how Project Search with United Ability finds success in jobs and life
Through Project Search, three young men—Ethan Major, CamRon Hamilton, and Aaron Grant are making sure patients throughout the UAB Hospital System receive the appropriate medications.
The work they do is remarkable—remembering all the codes and steps to get in many cases life-saving medicines to the right place.
Story #6—Dorothy Levy, founder of United Ability turns 107 this week. Wish her a Happy Birthday Birmingham!
In 2019, United Ability founder Dorothy Levy passed away at 107 years old. I had the pleasure to celebrate Dorothy’s 106th & 107th birthday. This year, I will always remember her outlasting me—dancing with all the adults at LincPoint for a full hour! Nobody was going to pull her away. It was like she knew this was going to be her last visit at LincPoint and United Ability.
It was a celebration. One United Ability has been having for 71 years.
I can’t omit the other stories.
- The inspirational Brian King Joseph and his performance at this year’s Journey of Hope.
- Ed Robinson—“the Fireman’s Boot”—telethons and the fish bowl.
- The Teske Family and the Vino Van Gogh event
- Who can forget the love story between Belinda and Daniel.
- And then there is the lovable Shep the superhero!
It has been an amazing year. An unforgettable year. And I can’t wait to write more stories for 2020.
The best journey I’ve ever taken was that morning at United Ability with Dr. Mark Cohen.
For 2020 join United Ability and if you can support them with an end of the year gift. They need our help. Take it from me, it’s the best journey you will ever take.
Link to www.unitedability.org/give