- If there is anything I have learned from Laurie over the last year of our friendship, it is the fact that sometimes the big dreams….the ones that seem impossible when you first say them out loud….they really do come true.
In February, Laurie was in the middle of her annual goal-setting when she said “I want to go to the White House. And Meet Barack Obama.” I wasn’t the only one in the meeting who didn’t see that as a likely option. It just didn’t seem possible….when would we ever get the chance to meet the President? The rest of us around that table
suggested Laurie might try a tour of the White House instead…a chance to finally see the building from the inside. She agreed, and over the next few months has began the process of getting the tour scheduled.
Then, one hot July afternoon, the impossible showed up on our doorstep: We were invited to join members of Special Olympics and other organizations and advocacy groups at the White House reception marking the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act! When the phone call came, I ran upstairs and asked Laurie if she wanted to do. Her first question: “Will the president be there?” After we read the invitation and heard the words, “The President requests the honor of….” Laurie smiled and said “yes!”
On July 20th, Laurie’s dream became reality, when she shook hands with the President…twice. We joined other men and women–adults and children—parents, siblings, friends—self-advocates to celebrate all that has been made possible through the ADA. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Laurie’s excitement was contagious; she even made the President laugh when they first shook hands! She also vowed as we left the White House that she would never wash her hand again. I suggested we take a picture and document the hand instead.
Eva Elizabeth has been living at Sixth Street for the past three years, hearing big dreams and trying to make them come true. Laurie’s dreams have encouraged her housemates to grow and dream big.