Grason Eckel
Grason Eckel campaign leader

This campaign matters because Rachel Flowers is an example of how God's love is manifested through his awesome power to enable a person with special needs to bring light into this sometimes dark world. Despite losing her eyesight as a baby, Rachel began to play the piano when she was only 2 1/2 years old and is now earning a reputation in the music scene as an up-and-coming performer specializing in classical, classic rock, jazz and blues. Rachel was born 15 weeks premature, explains her mother Jeanie Flowers, who is also a talented singer and musician. When Rachel was 3 months old and still in the NICU at Children’s Hospital, San Diego, the doctors discovered that she had developed retinopathy related to her premature birth. Rachel underwent several surgical procedures attempting to stop the progression of the disease. The disease was so aggressive that there was nothing the doctors could do to save her eyesight.

Rachel came to the attention of Keith Emerson, of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and she has incorporated the music of ELP into her performances. Rachel and her mother Jeanie have met Keith Emerson and they have become friends. They have also met and become friends with Greg Lake. Rachael's ability to play the piano compositions of Keith Emerson is nothing less than musical genius. As a blind person learning how to play a song when Rachel hears a note she knows where it is on the piano and also with her flute. She is blessed the gift that enables her to memorize music by ear and she can improvise in a way to add her own creativity.

Rachel Flowers is an inspiration, much in the same way that Helen Keller provided inspiration to millions of people around the world. Rachel's God given gift for music, and her story of achievement at a level of amazing musical complexity should be shared with the world, not only to provide an example of hope and the capability of children and adults with special needs, but also to those who are blessed with sight and hearing who are far too often blind to the gifts, talents, capabilities and aspiration of people with special needs. What better venue could ever be provided to
Rachel Flowers to showcase her God given talent than an opportunity to perform at a half-time Super Bowl show. Would such exposure for Rachel Flowers not be of greater value to our society, and to an international audience of millions, than an costume malfunction as was witnessed by the Super Bowl television audience when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performed or a sexually suggestive performance from the likes of Beyonce? What message is being sent to the children of this nation by the NFL with such performances? What message could be sent by the NFL by a performance by Rachael Flowers?

It is for this reason that this campaign has value and is worthy of public support. How often do we stop and think about our fellow citizens who may not have the ability to see or hear a Super Bowl while millions of people around the world can do so? Not often enough. Rachael Flowers being given an opportunity to showcase her gift to the world during a Super Bowl Halftime show would provide this world with a wake-up call reminder of how our society serves our special needs children and adults. A caring and compassionate society would remember our special needs citizens in such national entertainment events, moreover, it would provide further evidence of the awesome power of a loving God.

Grason John-Allen Eckel
Cambridge, Maryland

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