Rhett Garcia.   Back in October 2002, Second Chance introduced to all readers an inspiring young lady who had been diagnosed in 1996 with the chronic neurological disease, Multiple Sclerosis.  In October of 2002, Rhett Garcia, then twenty eight years old and wheelchair bound, was a vital contributing member of society, teaching fourth grade at a school she herself had attended in Dumas, Texas.  She was inspiring her students with her strength of character and traveling abroad once a year, hosting foreign exchange students, volunteering for the EF Foundation and enjoying her canine friend, Tito.  In 2002 Rhett was the recipient of Second Chance Foundation funds for the installation of hand controls in her vehicle allowing her to continue her dream inspiring others by living an independent life. 

  Fast forward to November 2005.  Indeed, more radiant than ever is this beautiful young lady.  Now thirty-two, Rhett is still with the school system in Dumas, Texas.  However, she is no longer teaching just fourth graders.  The school board of Dumas has developed a wonderful new position for Rhett - one that allows her to inspire children of all ages to reach beyond their immediate environment, social or financial position, and appreciate themselves for what gifts and talents they have been given.  Rhett now spends her days with children of all grades.  She develops their self-esteem; she motivates them to pursue every dream; she teaches them, by example, the importance of respect for one another in the multi-faceted society in which we live.

Rhett is still in her beautiful home and has built an amazing rock foundation in the backyard.  The backyard playtime with Tito is now shared with a Tito companion - a Jack Russell named Chico.  Tito and Chico are a true delight, but as Rhett will tell you (and this writer will attest to), Chico considers the greatest playtime to be slapping kisses all over human faces, non-stop.  Rhett is still traveling every year and has been in both hemispheres.

In spring of 2005, Rhett, though possessing muscles to be envied by all, was finding it more and more difficult to lift her wheelchair in and out of the car by herself.  Once again, Rhett applied for a small sum of funds from the giving foundation. - Second Chance.  Having applied for a small sum, Rhett was in awe once again when Second Chance agreed to have a topper for Rhett's vehicle installed.  Wow!  Talk about a fantastic mechanical device and talk about a foundation that cares.  Rhett now pushes a button on a remote control, the "loader" moves down, she hooks the wheelchair intact.  She then gets into her vehicle, sets the hand controls and away she goes!  Rhett, in her charming "Rhett manner," refers to her topper as the "black mushroom" or "bubble."  Her special students have knowledge of Second Chance through Rhett's display of this wonder.  More importantly, Rhett's students also learn the lesson of how sharing and caring are are what this life should entail, and how, indeed, through Second Chance what this life does entail.

"Radiant Rhett" does not consider herself disabled.  She considers herself blessed.  She has taken what most mortals would consider an unmanageable situation and turned it into a life of inspiration.  Second Chance has openly and willingly give a young lady who continually gives hope and inspiration to all she meets.

Diann.Brown@bsahs.org