Elijah Del Reischl entered this world on October 3, 2013 weighing just 5 pounds, carrying one extra chromosome and bursting with too much joy to keep inside.
Our family was instantly in love. By the time he was three, Eli could run two miles, clear both feet when jumping and had experimented with cross-country skiing. He could eat incredible quantities of cheese and I’ve never seen anyone sleep worse or wake up happier. He could out-swing, out-laugh and out-hug anyone. He had learned a ton of sign language and was becoming proficient with his alternative augmentative communication device – his talker. When he figured out he could use it to tell knock-knock jokes and turn Alexa on, there was no stopping him. Eli worked hard, played hard and loved hard. One of Eli’s gifts was the way he connected effortlessly with people around him because he accepted everyone for who they were.
His first independent sentence on his talker was:
And he did. He loved everyone he met, or who happened to pass by, or stand behind us in line at the grocery store. And at just three years old, he inspired so many of us to make an intentional effort to hold our arms out in love. Eli’s wonderful teacher, Sam, said, “Today I strive to teach from what Eli taught me. To create a sense of community where every child and family is accepted and celebrated, just as Eli did.” This is his legacy. He changed those he met with his limitless love.
“Today I strive to teach from what Eli taught me. To create a sense of community where every child and family is accepted and celebrated, just as Eli did.”
The Eli’s Park Project has grown from a tiny boy, his mom and physical therapist into a community effort to create a park that truly serves everyone. We welcome all people and all perspectives on our journey to make our world a more inclusive place.
Eli is the inspiration behind this project. I always imagined I'd be doing this with Eli. Now, it's because of him.
For us all.