by MATTHEW HORN
Parker Inks is every bit as inspiring as Rudy Ruettiger, of Notre Dame fame.
That was evident by the formation of Parker’s Purpose Foundation and turnout of about 350 people for a dinner and auction at Ole Zim’s Wagon Shed in Fremont on Friday.
“It’s actually overwhelming to see the kind of support the community gives,” Inks’ mother Patti said. “Last year was for our family and with the overwhelming support we wanted to start Parker’s Purpose and help that many more families.
“I can’t wait to see how many more families we can help.”
The foundation’s name stems from the fact Inks fought and had a purpose after being taken by LifeFlight to the hospital last March because of complications from multiple sclerosis. A similar dinner to Friday’s held last year raised funds for the Inks’ financial needs.
This year, Parker’s Purpose is trying to help others. The dinner and auction’s scope expanded this year to benefit the foundation, formed to financially help families facing similar crises.
“Through the process last year, we thought we should keep the giving going,” said Todd Drusback, SJCC football coach and president of the foundation. “Through Parker’s fight and purpose we’re working to help others facing similar challenges. We want to help take stress away from families even if just for a little bit and allow them to be parents for their kids.”
Colin and Jakob Robison, who have a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome, now have access to expensive medication from overseas not covered by insurance that has reduced the frequency of their seizures by 95 percent over the past year.
Britanie Botton, mother of Gino, can now take time off work to be with her son as he undergoes surgery for a detached retina and deals with profound hearing loss in both ears.
The foundation has also assisted the Hisey family, as daughter Tyler and son Tanner were both diagnosed with leukemia between 2006 and 2008.
Ruettiger, who overcame long odds to play football for the Fighting Irish, was the keynote speaker Friday. He said you’ll always have a new dream if you’re inspired and everything happens with good thoughts.
Parker, who served as ballboy for the Crimson Streaks football team, knows all about good thoughts as he enjoys going to the movies with his parents, playing on the computer or video games, and listening to his iPod.
“Those are the things that make me the happiest,” he said.
Parker’s Purpose had already raised thousands of dollars prior to Friday.
Ruettiger encouraged people to dream, believe and never quit. Inks didn’t need the reminder.
“It’s very inspirational to see all these people come together to help other people and me,” Parker said.