Bosley Crowther (July 13, 1905 – March 7, 1981) was an American journalist and author who was a film critic for The New York Times for 27 years. His provocative and penetrating work helped shape the careers of many actors, directors and screenwriters, through his reviews.
In 1962 he reviewed a very special movie that infused America with empathy.
Blind and deaf after suffering a terrible fever as a baby, young Helen Keller (Patty Duke) has spent years unable to communicate, leaving her frustrated and occasionally violent. As a last chance before she is institutionalized, her parents (Inga Swenson, Andrew Prine) contact a school for the blind, which sends half-blind Annie Sullivan (Anne Bancroft) to teach Helen.
Helen is initially resistant, but Annie gradually forms a bond with her and shows Helen ways of reaching others.
The film was called the Miracle Worker.
“When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.”… Susan Sarandon
Fortunately Miracle Workers still exist today and sometimes they come in beautiful, angelic forms.
Kaitlin Sandeno is such a person.
Kaitlin is an American former competition swimmer who is an Olympic gold medalist, world champion and former world record-holder. Ms. Sandeno was a member of the American team that set a new world record in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
At the 2000 Summer Olympics held in Sydney, Australia, Kaitlin won the bronze medal in the 800-meter freestyle event, along with fourth place in the 400-meter individual medley and sixth place in the 200-meter butterfly.
In 2003, representing USC, she won the U.S. national championship in the 200-meter butterfly, and the 200- and 400-meter individual medley events.
The 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece saw Ms. Sandeno win three more Olympic medals: a silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley, a bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle, and a gold medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.
After failing to qualify for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team she retired.
Her swimming career was filled with love, praise and miracles.
Her incredible accomplishments are confirmed by her Alma mater at usctrojans.com. “One of the world’s greatest swimmers, Sandeno competed at USC from 2002-2004 before turning professional prior to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. It was a move that paid off for Sandeno, who was one of the stars of the Games.”
Now the sensational former Trojan’s admiration is swelling with wave after wave from around the globe towards her higher calling.
The respected national site usaswimming.org shares, “It’s safe to say that Kaitlin Sandeno has found her true calling with her life-affirming opportunity with a nonprofit that has grown to be near and dear to her heart.
In her view, her involvement with the Jessie Rees Foundation: Never Ever Give UP (NEGU) – initially as the organization’s national spokesperson and currently as the director of sports relations – is a true blessing, one from which she gains new insight about life and for which she is grateful every day.”
Please meet the Jessie Rees Foundation.
At their informative site negu.org, they share their mission with us which is to ensure every kid fighting cancer has the support to never give up. They fulfill their mission by connecting with families, bringing awareness to their stories and offering them helpful resources and encouragement.
This encouraging story is developed further at athleteapproved.com who shares, “Though they only met twice during Jessie’s short life, Jessie and her kind spirit left an imprint on Kaitlin’s heart. Kaitlin approached Jessie’s father asking if there was any way that she could help with the Foundation and though Kaitlin did not hear from the grieving father for quite some time, he eventually contacted Kaitlin asking if she would like to be the National Spokesperson for the Jessie Rees Foundation.”
Kaitlin’s swimming career consisted of a number of ups and downs including fighting through painful injuries so working for a foundation whose theme is Never Ever Give Up is an ideal fit.
Kaitlin at times finds her new passion physically draining, traveling on the road as often as she does, sometimes weeks at a time living out of suitcases and hotels, but she knows the work that she is involved in and the joy she is helping to spread globally in Jessie’s honor, is what’s most important.
Let’s travel to the village that her raised Kaitlin through her very important young sports life.
Kaitlin had a spectacular career while a prep at El Toro High in Lake Forest, California and with the Nellie Gail Saddleback Valley Club.
Lake Forest incorporated as a city on December 20, 1991. Prior to incorporation, the community had been known as El Toro.
Lake Forest has two lakes from which the city gets its name. The lakes are man-made, and condominiums and custom homes ranging from large to small line their shores. Neighborhood associations manage the lakes.
Lake One, known as the Lake Forest Beach and Tennis Club, and Lake Two, the Sun and Sail Club. Each facility features tennis courts, gyms, basketball courts, barbecue pits, volleyball courts, multiple swimming pools, saunas, hot tubs and club houses for social events.
Wow, sounds heavenly. There’s no place like Southern California.
The forest for which the city is also named lies in the area between Ridge Route, Jeronimo, Lake Forest and Serrano roads, and consists mostly of Eucalyptus trees. It is also man-made, and was created in the first decade of the 1900s when a local landowner, Dwight Whiting, planted 400 acres of Eucalyptus groves in the vicinity of Serrano Creek as part of a lumber operation intended to draw development to the area.
Kaitlin is a wonderful young woman from a very desirable, well thought out, idyllic and picturesque town.
“The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.”… Meryl Streep
In terms of the future, in one of her online interviews at usaswimming.org, Kaitlin smiled, “I give some motivational talks and when I do I am always so glad my story ended the way it did. And even though I didn’t make the team in 2008, I learned so much about my life, made new friends, and explored many new places. But to have a medal to pull out for people – an Olympic medal – is something that makes it real for the young people who I talk to, and they get excited when I show it to them.”
It’s been very moving and exciting sharing Kaitlin’s philanthropic and emerging life pathway with all of you.
Life is always about transitions.
Given all that she has accomplished and all that she is set to do, Kaitlin is proof that if we are dedicated, determined and work together towards a common good, miracles in human, angelic form, will continue to happen.
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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.