Ann Romney Brings Personal Message to St. Petersburg

Mitt Romney's wife touched on her own battle with MS, when she visited a new therapeutic playground at All Children's Hospital.

Ann Romney delivered a message of hope and optimism Wednesday morning at the grand opening for a new theraupetic playground at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg: "Our little ones are our responsibility," she said. "It is our responsibility to take care of them and make sure their lives have joy."

"No matter our limits, it is important to know joy," Romney, 63, told the crowd, which included parents of children with serious disabilities and medical conditions.

Ann Romney's visit to St. Petersburg was her first public appearance since she made a heartfelt, well-received speech Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Romney offered a personal story of her life and love for husband, Mitt, in support of his GOP nomination for president.

Wednesday morning, her remarks were just as anecdotal, with Romney revealing her own struggles with multple sclerosis, an incurable disease that attacks the nervous system.

"I know someting about physical therapy, and I know something about joy," Romney said, noting that she used horseback riding as physical therapy when diagnosed with MS at age 49. Her comments also revealed a comfort for public speaking that seemed to belie a more corporate public demeanor.

She told the crowd how "grateful" she was for her visit and repeated some sage advice she received from an 11-year-old patient moments before walking on stage: " 'Let your light shine," Seth Morano of Sarasota told Romney upon meeting her. "You're going to be great."

Her appearance at the RNC Tuesday and at the ribbon-cutting Wednesday showed a softer side of Mitt Romney and the GOP presidential campaign. A small number of GOP leaders attended the event, including U.S. Rep. Bill Young, Florida Reps. Jim Frishe and Rich Glorioso, and St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster.

While Ann Romney spoke in St. Petersburg Wednesday morning, her sons, Ben and Craig, campaigned in Palm Harbor, speaking to a breakfast crowd of Florida delegates.

The Romney family's candor at both events seemed to charm people. "I wish every day we could have a grand opening day at the playground," Seth declared when the speech ended and the children could play uninterrupted.

Benefits of Therapeutic Playground

Seth has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. His parents, Jennifer and David Morano, said that Seth will be using the slides and swings at the new playground for his physical therapy. Jennifer drives Seth from their Sarasota home to St. Petersburg for his physical therapy.

Allie Ribner, his physical therapist, said the children can improve motor skills and benefit from sensory stimulation at the outdoor playground. The playground – with its soft surfaces and cradled swings – also enables young people with disabilities to enjoy recreation with their siblings and other family members, which often is denied to them because of their limitations.

David Morano lifted his son from his wheelchair and carried him up the steps of a slide and placed the boy in the chute, as Seth squealed with joy. Seth's 9-year-old brother, Noah, played nearby.

"We're here for Seth. We're part of his world here," David said. "This will be a place for him to enjoy, to have fun."

Story Behind the Therapeutic Playground

The playground was developed though fundraising efforts and donations of credit union members. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the League of Southeastern Credit Unions and the National Journal Group partnered to develop the therapuetic playground "as a leave-behind project."  CUNA has a history of developing projects that benefit communities where National Party conventions are held.

martin, bob September 03, 2012 at 08:53 AM
More racist rants from supporters of the extreme LEFT wing. Curious, when you pleasure Barack do you spit or swallow? Of courrse you swallow!
Dad of Three September 03, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Oh, Mr Sprat, get off the deceit and deception bus. The Ryan scheme is called "STARVE THE BEAST", and the radical right designed this process and strategic objective decades ago; the right wing starts to de-fund essential programs by diverting revenue flows to other competing parallel systems, and at some point the original program - namely, TRUE Medicare - collapses by lack of critical mass. Then the Starve-the-Beast plan leaves only the "private & for-profit sector" competing plan, which leaves all future generations, my daughters and sons, and my nieces and nephews, and my grandchildren and grand nephews and nieces, and all of the future generations of posters reading this thread, receiving a measly voucher which cover less and less of their health care costs, and all along the private insurance companies make obscene profits and their executives receive huge bonuses. In other words, Ryan is hoping that his little scam will not be realized by those who actually care about future generations. He will not leave true Medicare undamaged, and that is his actual plan, eliminate true Medicare as we all know it.
Goin' Commando September 03, 2012 at 04:11 PM
For Jack Sprat, you provided one FactCheck.org citation, but conveniently did not mention this one pointing out the Ryan lies and distortions: http://www.factcheck.org/2012/08/ryans-vp-spin/ Also, you should go to PolitiFact.com, which has helpful analyses: http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2012/aug/29/paul-ryan/did-barack-obama-break-promise-keep-gm-plant-open/ http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2012/aug/28/paul-ryan/ryan-says-incomes-went-down-nationally-under-obama/ http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/aug/29/paul-ryan/paul-ryan-said-president-obama-funneled-716-billio/
Jack Sprat September 04, 2012 at 05:33 AM
Obviously we have a lot of expert OPINIONS posted here, alsong with some understandings and misunderstandings about who is going to do what to whom. Here are some irrefutable facts: 1. We have $16 Trillion in debt to repay, with interest. 2. So far, this president has borrowed over $1 Trillion a year since taking office, running up our debt another $5 Trillion in 3 1/2 years. 3. 23 Million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. 4. The majority of the population believes they are not better off today than 3 1/2 years ago. 5. If we do nothing to save Medicare and Social Security, they will not exist in the future. Do we really want four more years of unresolved problems that he promsed to overcome during his first four years.
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