Monthly Archives: March 2012

Now a Korean Morning Show

It was about a week after I had returned from S.Korea when Master McCorry looks at me and says there was another call for you are you interested? I looked at him and asked what are they asking to do with me? He then makes a gesture of someone filming. How many days I asked with a little distress. One day he told me. Good I said because if they wanted more I’m not interested. The filming of my documentary was amazing but by the end of three weeks I was good to never be filmed again. He went on to tell me that a woman from a morning show called “Morning Wide” was interested as they were putting together a show on about Tae Kwon Do in America. He said she would be calling back within the week.

A half hour later a get a call from Ashley we talked for a few minutes and we agreed that she would send myself and the school an email about what the segment is about and what they were looking for from us. Over the next few weeks we spoke by phone and email as details changed and to setup the schedule. They were also interested in meeting my friends so I needed to figure out their availability as well. Finally, everything was agreed the filming would happen on March 19, 2012. The crew would meet me at my work at 5 pm from there they would film me going to Tae Kwon Do. We would stay at Tae Kwon Do from 5:30 until 7:30 and then my friends would come to my house for 8:00. At my house I would have an interview with the host and show them around and then my friends would be interviewed. That was the plan!

March 19, 2012 came quickly and before I knew it the film crew was here. I came down the stairs and I saw the crew outside. As soon as I came outside the host came right up to me and starting talking to me like we were old friends it was a little weird but I went along with it. I told her what my plans were for the night and invited her along. Just before leaving a colleague from the courthouse was coming into the building. Him and I talked a bit and they continued to film our conversation after they did a short interview with him. Then we were off to Tae Kwon Do.

Once we got their I changed into my uniform and went to help with the little ninja class. It was sparring tonight so we paired them up and let them spar. I’m not sure if this interaction was caught on film. When I called one of the kids up to spar he looked at me and pulled his hands up to his shoulders and laughed. I was a little surprised as I had never had this type of encounter with any of the kids at the schools in five years. I dealt with as I always would. I asked him if he would like someone to make fun of him and he said no. Then I talked to him about respect. The rest of the class went smoothly I worked with kids of different ages and we did free sparring and three step. Later I worked with one student on his forms. He did really well forgetting only a few things and so we went over them together.

After the children’s class they interviewed Master McCorry and then we got ready for the adult class. The host, Claire, joined in on the warm up which I lead and then we geared up for sparring. They filmed me throughout the class and interviewed some of the other student here or there. After sparring I ended up doing a short introductory session with Claire. This had been something that had been done with the other Tae Kwon Do schools they had visited here in the US. I walk her through how we started a class and then broke down some of the kicks. She did really and before I knew it time at Tae Kwon Do was done and I needed to meet up with my friends at the house.

When I got home two of my friends had already arrived and the filming started up to get the entering transition (LOL). Once in the house I had a few minutes to freshen up while they got the camera and lighting correct. Then it was rather informal conversation with Claire. We talked about my life, friends, family, and Tae Kwon Do. Then we moved on and filmed my friends and I talking. There were some prompted questions to keep us on target. It was pretty easy going. The director knew what she wanted and was sure to get it. When she decided we should sit in the kitchen there was no changing her mind and at times she was more interested in one of friends answers then another. Then it was time for them to go. They did say goodbye almost five times until they got the right shoot.

Overall experience

The filming experience was a little easier. First it was one day instead of three weeks. Second I’m learning how to hold my own. At one point in the arranging they got a bit pushy and I told them if that was there position then they could film someone else. They changed their tune real quick. Third everyone spoke English and spoke English when around me which was nice because I knew what was going on and what was being said the whole time. I have requested a copy and knowledge of when it will air in South Korea which should be before the summer Olympics. Until next time!

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Easter Seals -Team Hoyt Rising Star Award

Easter Seals Honors Peabody Woman Who Defied the Odds

March 21, 2012 – Sheila Radziewicz, whose personal story has inspired people the world over, will receive the prestigious Team Hoyt Rising Star Award from Easter Seals on April 12. The ceremony will take place at Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge.

The award, given annually, honors her efforts to break down barriers facing children and adults with disabilities, including her work as a motivational speaker and mentor.

Radziewicz was born with a rare genetic disorder called thrombocytopenia with absent radius (TAR) syndrome that left her with hands, but no arms or kneecaps, and a host of other medical problems. Doctors told her parents she would not live.

But with the support of her loving family, she defied the odds. As a child, doctors said she would never walk. After numerous operations and long periods in leg braces and casts, she went on to play soccer, roller skate, ride a mini-bike, ski and go horseback riding, among other things – just like the other kids.

Her connection with Easter Seals began when she took swimming lessons in an Easter Seals program at the YMCA in Malden, where she grew up. In recent years, Radziewicz joined the Easter Seals Regional Board in Boston and participated in the organization’s Youth Leadership Forum for teens and young adults with disabilities, discussing self-advocacy.

Wherever she goes, she inspires people with both her abilities and the motto she lives by: “Everything is possible. The impossible just takes a little longer.”

Today, Radziewicz is an articulate and confident woman of 33 who lives independently in Peabody. A college graduate with a master’s degree in criminal justice, Radziewicz works fulltime as the volunteer coordinator for Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC), an agency in Salem that helps domestic-abuse victims.

She purchased a new car recently with help from Easter Seals and drives with her feet, thanks to adaptations from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.

Two years ago Radziewicz became the first woman with no arms to receive a black belt in the World Federation of Tae Kwon Do, a Korean martial art. The distinction drew the attention of a South Korean TV station, which recently taped a five-part series on her life.

The media attention she received after receiving her black belt inspired Radziewicz to start a second career as a motivational speaker. In addition to the Easter Seals Youth Leadership Forum, she has told her story and spoken about disability awareness at local schools and organizations, and at Shriners Hospital in Springfield, where she was treated as a child.

“Sheila Radziewicz inspires everyone, both with and without disabilities, with her determination and accomplishments,” Easter Seals President Kirk Joslin said. “As a motivational speaker and mentor to children and teens with disabilities, she is a fine role model – an accomplished, successful and independent adult.”

Easter Seals created the Team Hoyt Rising Star Award to honor individuals who share the courage and determination of legendary athletes Dick and Rick Hoyt. The Hoyts, longtime Easter Seals supporters, are fan favorites in the Boston Marathon every year and inspire people all over the world with their message of, “Yes, you can!”

Easter Seals Massachusetts provides services to ensure that children and adults with disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play. Nonprofit and nonsectarian, Easter Seals offers technological assistance, employment and training services, recreational activities, youth transition and leadership programs, veterans’ services, rehabilitation services and public awareness programs. For more information, call 800 244-2756 or go to http://www.EasterSealsMa.org.

For more info http://ma.easterseals.com/site/Calendar?view=Detail&id=37238

Korean Filming (Part 2)

Day two we returned to Kukkiwon and I had the pleasure to meet with the president. He gave me a Letter of Commendation. In recognition of my outstanding contribution to the development and dissemination of Taekwondo. We then visited the open area that the testing took place in the day before and did a bit of filming. I had to do a little self advocacy with the filming crew as they wanted me walk around and then stand still for about ten minutes. After talking with then they understood why that was not going to happen. We then left to go to a local Tae Kwon Do school and spent the rest of the day there.

I was barely in the door and I was asked to speak. I introduced myself and said hello and then took a minute to set down my jacket. Then I spoke a bit on my life and Tae Kwon Do. The school had a demonstration planed for me and so I was able to sit an watch them. They did forms, breaking, and sparring. Then I was asked to do some Tae Kwon Do and I did some kicking drills, breaking, nun-chucks and sparred with them. Later we some lunch ad talked . Some of the students tried to teach me some Korean and tried to teach them some English. There was some interviewing of the the Master, students and myself. There was also a reporter and camera from a local T.V. Station who wanted to capture the day with me. There was a second class that I joined and that class was for students with disabilities. I joined the class as they were doing a basic class form that I was able to learned quickly and it was lot of fun. After the class some of the parents arrived and I performed my nun chucks. The day was lot of fun by the end I was very tired, sore and hungry.

That evening we had plans to eat Korean Barbecue at a local restaurant. By the time we got there I was very hungry and cranky. The film crew was taking forever to get going and it was cold outside. I went into the restaurant trying to get them moving along but that did not work. Then needed the coming and going. I went back outside annoyed and then back in hoping to eat soon. Next thing I know the camera is in my face again asking me what I thought of the place. I said it was nice. I was then asked is that all you have to say. I responded I am sore, tired, cranky, and hungry I will talk to you more after I eat. I bet that will make the film. Dinner was quick to arrive and I was given kimchi (Korean cabbage) I quickly put it aside knowing that I did not like it as I had tried it the day before. It was quickly questioned why I was not eating it and I explained that I did not like and therefore was not eating it. They did not seem to like that but did not push anymore. Momo was able to meet us for dinner which was great! Then we finished up our dinner and went back to the hotel. All and all dinner was really nice.

On the third and finally day we started the day with a visit to the Tae Kwon Do Promotion Federation. This was the group that funded the first documentary that I was a part in. There was a short business meeting and during that I was asked to write a short message to the Korean people. I was then asked to be a speaker at this summers International Tae Kwon Do camp which I accepted. We then got to see a short video about the Tae Kwon Do Park that is being built. It was a great meeting they gifted me some really nice things.

That afternoon we did some sightseeing. We tried to go to the palace but found out it was closed on Tuesdays. However, we did get to look around the front part of grounds and take some pictures. Then we went to the highest point in Seoul and got to see the whole city it was beautiful. There I learned about the locks of love. People come to this place lock the locks to the fence and write messages to there love ones. I left a lock for my family. Later we went to the largest out door market in Seoul. I was looking forward to getting a necklace for myself. The market place was a lot of fun and bit cold. Later in the day I meet up with a reporter from a Tae Kwon Do newspaper and did a short interview.

Before dinner there was the last formal interview in my room. This was an opportunity for the film crew to ask or follow up on last minute things. At first it was a short laid back interview. Quickly it became formal. They wanted me to sit here instead of there. They wanted me to sit this way instead of that way. It was frustrating because they wanted to sit in a way that was not comfortable for my body. I went with it because I knew it was important. There was one thing that I was not going to deal with and that them physically moving me around without being asked. My chair was being moved and then my body without words well without English words. At last I said to the producer if you want me to move would please ask me in English and I would be happy to do that. He then talk me the camera guy does not speak English how can you ask that. I looked at the producer and said I know he does not speak English I am asking you to speak English not him. He went silent a few minutes later he he asked me to move to the right. I looked at him and said thank you that was all that I was looking for. We then finished up and went to dinner.

My last night we went to a nice restaurant. One of the interesting things I found to happen while eating in Korea was that you did not order individual dishes. It seemed that things came as an appetizer would here and then everyone ate from everything. We ordered pizza that was very different. No sauce and it was on a very different kind of dough, but it was good. Dinner was nice and there was no filming! After dinner I meet up with Momo for drinks and dessert. It was nice to meet up with as I spent a lot of time with him while he was filming me in the US. Momo walked me back to the hotel and wished me good flight home. I went up to the room to pack up. As I packed I was having a hard time fitting everything in the suitcase as I was gifted a number of things over the last three days.

The following morning we went to the airport. I was was flying home on my know because Andrew had business and was staying. The flight home was just as nice as it was going there as I was on the same two story plane. Our flight home was a bit shorter 12 hours instead of 15. Unfortunately, it felt way longer probably because I slept less then the flight over. Before I knew it we were landing at JFK airport and then it was a short flight home to Boston. I did have a few hours in JFK before boarding for Boston. Once through customs I texted home and got my messages from my family. My sister Lisa and I talked for awhile about my trip and all the things going on while I was gone. I had a great trip but it great to be home!

Overall Thoughts

When I look back I’m glad that I did it. There are some things I wish went differently. I wish there was more interpreting there for me. It seemed that there was interpreting only when when I directly needed to be spoken to. I realize this was probably because I was being filmed but it was frustrating for me. I understood hello, thank you and Sheila that is very little. The worst part was hearing my name all the time and not understanding what was being said. I spent my childhood with people whispering things about me and even though this was not the same it brought back some of those memories. I was there three days and going crazy not understanding things I have a new respect for people coming to the US without the language or the culture. I wish I had had a friend with me. Andrew was there as an agent and made sure that things went smoothly but it would of been more fun to share this whole experience with a friend or family member.

The documentary will be out soon. I’ll keep you posted.

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Korean Filming (Part 1)

The US Filming finished mid-day on January 31, 2012 which meant I had two and a half days to make sure all my responsibilities at work were organized and to get myself packed before I left from S. Korea. At 5:30 on Thursday night I shut down my computer and looked to my friend Erin and said “I’m going to S.Korea tomorrow, Wow”. It just hit me mainly because I was so focused on making sure things were organized at work. I went home to finish packing and go to bed early. I had to be up at 3:00 am to catch my shuttle to the airport to make my 6 am flight to JFK, New York.

I have say 3:00 am is way to early to be awaking up at even when you are in bed by 9 pm. I got up and ready and by 3:45 my shuttle was at the front door. It was a quick ride into Logan airport since there were not that many people on the road. Once at the airport things went quickly, I checked in and waited for wheelchair assistances this was going to be a long day and so I was going to limit my walking. By 5:30 I boarded the plane and was sleep within seconds and next thing I knew we were landing at JFK. I meet up with Andrew after landing and we waiting a few hours for our connecting flight to South
Korea.

I flew Korean Airs in the largest plane I had even seen it was two stories referred to as the airbus. We had coach tickets and they were nicer then I expected. I had an individual tv to watch what I liked when I liked. They also gave out little bags with slippers, toothpaste and a toothbrush. I have to say I have never been feed some much on a plane and the food was pretty good too. The flight was way to long 15 hours on a plane I read, watched movies, listened to music, slept a few different times, played video game and had time to spare. By the time we landed I was so done with the plane and happy to be on land. My legs were a bit sore and swollen despite my efforts to walk around on the plane and feet barely fit in my shoes. I was happy that I had a wheelchair reserved. As we existed the plane the reality that I had traveled half way around the world set in. There was little to no English written or heard around me we were brought to get our luggage and then to customs I was completely lost. We existed customs and were meet by the Korean filming crew. After 15 hours on a plane I was sore and a little disoriented and now I was on film again. They wanted my impressions on Korea I did not have much to say as I had only had seen the airport.

We had about a 45 minute ride to Hotel M where we were staying. Seoul is a pretty modern city lots of people, businesses, buildings, and traffic as with most cities no parking. The hotel I stayed at was very nice. You had a little walk in area where one would take off their shoes and put on the provided slippers. The floor was heated! Then you had your usually hotel amenities. Now the bathroom setup was a bit different. There were different slippers to change into when going in there. Took a little bit to figure out because everything was written in characters. The shower stall drain out on the floor instead of a self contained space. This I figured out after soaking two towels as I usually leave things on the floor. I later realized this is a typical setup it just goes to show you the small culture differences. I made it to 9 pm on my first night and feel fast asleep.

My first full day was scheduled tightly. First stop was Kukkiwon, the headquarters of Tae Kwon Do, I had been told they were having an event that day and I was invited. It was not until that morning did I realize that this event was the weekly testing that occurred for students in Seoul. Students did not get tested at the local but came here. The place was packed three was an easy three to five hundred people there. When we first arrived we meet with a number of the Masters and then I interacted with some of the students. Students lined the hallways practicing and the testing space was was huge. During the meeting I realized they wanted me to do forms out in the testing space the idea was a bit scary. I was fine with it but told them I need a little practice time before hand.

Before I knew it I was changing into my Do-Bulk (uniform) in order to perform my hyung (form). I had sometime to practice in the hallway which was great as I was nervous. As I was trying to practice the camera was staring back at me and I told him he needed to leave. I needed to get centered and having a camera in my face was not working for me. He understood and let me be asking if he could film practicing in a little bit and I agreed. I agreed but the practicing only lasted a few more minutes and I was called to the floor. Since I know little to no Korean and an interpreter was not brought to the floor there was a lot of gesturing to get me to the floor. Once there I waited my turn to be brought forward. There were many people there and three ring setup to accommodate all the testing so lots of activity. When I was brought forward things were brought to a stop. A man introduced me , at least I assume he did as it was all in Korean, then I heard charyot (attention), kyung-nae (bow), jhoon-bee (ready) and she-jae (start). Thank you Bruce McCorry’s Martial Arts for teaching me these important Korean words. It all went fast as forms do not take very long. I was presented with a new uniform and another blackbelt. When I was done I thanked the Masters. I then did some practicing in the hallway for camera. Then there was pictures with everyone. People were coming up to me left and right. It was a trip.

We then went for lunch on the ground and I had my first Korean meal. It was pretty good except for the spicy cabbage which I later learned is what everyone eats there. I also impressed everyone as I used my chopsticks with lunch. Thank you Mr. K’s, Asian African Class. Then we went to a museum upstairs from where we ate. It was really interesting as it held all things Olympic Tae Kwon Do. It also had pictures of a less modern Kukkiwon. Then we were off to our next scheduled event with the Scouts.

It was interesting to realize that there are boy scouts and girls scouts in Korea as I have always seen that as an American Association. That is probably more my assumptions then anything else as I do not know the history of the scouts and the world is a smaller place now. Why not have scouts all around the world. I was a part of the days event. It was great to speak to the scouts about my life regarding bullying and Tae Kwon Do.
It was a fun full day and I was fast asleep by 9 pm.

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US Filming (Part 3)

US Filming (Part 3)

January 27, 2012

My biggest stresses at work were resolved which made me feel much better. I even decided that that I would go to the grocery store again and get ingredients for stuffed mushrooms with yesterdays stresses gone I was happy to cook a little. Zayda came over after work and we jumped into her car to do errands. The grocery store and then the liquor store then home. They filmed us bringing everything into the house and then organizing it. I did not want to change until I was done cooking and cleaning up. Zayda and I made up up stuff mushrooms real fast and then reorganized the house for guests. Then I changed and Zayda did my hair and makeup for the party. People arrived around eight even though I planned for seven. I explained to the Momo that my friends were arriving a little later that seemed to calm them. There were about seven of us that night and we had lots of fun. There was dancing, music and I played my digerdo. It was all very unplanned which was perfect. There were a few weird or uncomfortable moments like trying to get drumming to happen with a group that did not drum. A few people had interviewing happen without notice which was a little sudden but they were ok with it. We also played games jester and twister. It was lots of fun.

January 28, 2012

Today was the Lego Store this was a visit long planned for my nephew. Now the whole family was coming. This was an event I told them would not change or be cancelled for the other day they were not sure if we could film. I meet everyone at the at the Lego store around eleven. Momo had meet some of the family but not everyone. Then we just enjoyed ourselves. I hangout with the family as usually and just tried to forget about the filming. They me and the family all interacting. Then there were the random questions about my childhood toys. The question seem out of context to me and the family but maybe not to the filming people. At the end we all went down the escalator together which was very humorous. Then it was back to the house for lunch, hanging out and more formal interviews. My parents and sisters had formal interviews after lunch. My nephew and niece were asked questions about me and it was very cute. Then there filming of the family hanging out together.

I’m skipping to Monday now I spoke about my trip to the Cape on part by accident when it actual happen on January 29, 2012.

January 30, 2012

Today we went to visit Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield Ma. This is where I receive most of my medical care as a child. I was able to get a hold of a friend at the hospital and she helped plan things out. We did a tour of the hospital and did interviews with Maureen a physical therapist who use to work with me as a child. It was interesting to hear stories from her about my childhood. I was also give video footage of me taken at the hospital when a was young. Later in the day we had a chance to go in back room to where all the braces are made. I had not been back there in a long time. Last there was a short interview with the chief of surgery. Dr. D spoke of my care at Shriners through the years.

When we got home we spent sometime filming me getting ready to pack for
Korea and talked about what might be happening when I went to
Korea.

January 31, 2012

Last day of filming in the US was today. Today we had a visit to the District Attorney’s Office planned. Since a big theme of the documentary was about bullying it fit well to talk with the D.A. Office about their bullying program. Ruth went over the bullying program with me and then there was a short interview with her. Then Cheryl Watson was interviewed the chief of victim services a woman I had worked with closely over the last few years. After the visit to the D.A. Office there was a little bit of filming done driving back to my office and then they were done. The US filming was complete!
Overall thoughts

Looking back on the experience I’m glad I did it and I think the over message was great. The whole experience was not easy. I had two or three people with me every day for fourteen days. No it was not every moment of the day but when they were not there I knew we had filming to do soon. They also wanted to be able to film as many parts of my life as possible in two weeks. That meant I needed to plan things and see if friends and/or family were available to be filmed. I also was in the middle of planning the volunteer training at work and had never done that before and was under a lot of stress. Then I needed to have everything in place at work so I could leave and go to South Korea for five days. It was a tough schedule and I was always worrying how my friends and family were about the interviews and the random camera in their faces as we were doing an activity. They were at Tae Kwon Do about five different times and I did not want the filming to have a negative effect on the other students. Then my usually stress relief at Tae Kwon Do was not happening because I had to be on point for camera. It was a lot and I’m glad I did it. Next my trip to South Korea.