"God Bless the Dream, the Dreamer and the Result." 

FaithWalk Clothing by William Renae

In today's world and in times past collaboration and partnering has been an instrumental strategy.  Partnering helps us to grow, learn, change and exchange ideas.  Even the Bible endorses partnering based on the scripture that says, "Where two or three are gathered, I am there."

I want to introduce to you a mother/son partnership, which currently launched a new clothing line.  The clothing line is called FaithWalk. The new line is created to encourage others to save themselves and to take control of their own destiny.

Renae Parker Benenson is a Mom, certified Chaplin (spiritual listener and encourager), writer and co-founder of FaithWalk.  William Marshall Parker II is a Son, entrepreneur, writer and co-founder of FaithWalk.  Together they compliment each other and have found support for their individual and collective growth and development.

They started FaithWalk because they get it.  They have figured out that their life is to get better spiritually, emotionally, financially, intellectually and physically it will be because they have prayed to God and believe that the Creator will equip them for the journey and fill them with unfathomable power to be and to do more than they can ever imagine.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blind swimmer is true inspiration

Diamond Bar High's Andrew Luk, a 16-year-old sophomore who is blind, is shown through an underwater camera as he prepares for a junior varsity race during a meet at Villa Park High.

Luk is blind, and the fact he has the courage to compete for his high school swim team is emboldening teammates and opponents alike.

Luk's story is more than inspirational. It's a triumph of the human spirit.

Luk joined Diamond Bar's junior varsity swim team last month after much agonizing over what he should do with his life.

At 5, he lost his vision because a 1.1-centimeter tumor damaged his optic nerves. Radiation reduced the tumor's size, but its location on the brain stem made it too risky for surgery, leaving him blind and partially deaf. He can detect light and darkness from his left eye but nothing from his right eye.

As the years went by, he'd swim for fun, but making the decision to join a team was never considered, until last year.

With the urging of teachers and counselors, he enrolled last summer in a competitive swimming program at Mt. San Antonio College run by Jodi Lepp, an age-group instructor for Brea Aquatics.

She taught him fundamentals of swimming competitively, though she had never worked with a blind student before. Through repetition and learning to count his strokes, he figured out when he would be approaching a wall.

Luk joined Diamond Bar's swim team in February. He was a 16-year-old sophomore welcomed with open arms by Michael Spence, a dedicated, always positive veteran coach who has a Santa Claus-like white beard and a "big heart," as one parent put it.

Spence immediately endorsed the idea of Luk competing for Diamond Bar. And he assigned one of his varsity swimmers, senior Lynn Han, to serve as his mentor and personal coach.

Before each race, Han takes Luk by his arm and guides him to the pool rail, where he gingerly drops into the water for competition.

Han is one of two tappers who hold a 75-inch long white pole with a tennis ball fastened at the end to touch Luk as he nears each wall. It's the way he avoids banging his head when he loses count of his strokes.

Han has taught him how to refine his stroke and swim in a straight line within his lane.

In his first race this month, Luk's time in the 500 free was 9 minutes 55.14 seconds. Two days later, his time was 9:32.45. In his next race, it dropped to 8:54.28. The personal bests keep coming, and last week, he practiced for the first time diving into the water, a dangerous maneuver for someone who is blind but important toward improving his time.

Luk lives in Chino Hills. His older sister attends UCLA and is studying to become a doctor. He has two younger sisters, ages 11 and 8. His mother, born in Indonesia, and his father, a native of Vietnam, run a furniture business.

Luk lives in Chino Hills. His older sister attends UCLA and is studying to become a doctor. He has two younger sisters, ages 11 and 8. His mother, born in Indonesia, and his father, a native of Vietnam, run a furniture business.

Luk, 6 feet and 165 pounds, gets around Diamond Bar's campus with the help of a cane. He has a laptop that allows him to translate letters in Braille. He's visited once a week by a mobility instructor and has an aide lookings out for him during the school day. And then there are the many students who admire his commitment to participate in the high school experience.

Luk had a 3.8 grade-point average last semester and is well-versed in a variety of subjects, including politics, music and sports. He plays the piano and listens to countless radio programs. He said he might want to become a journalist because he likes to write and recently won a trip to Spain for one of his essays.

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