MORTON, Ill. — Taping and packing boxes may seem like a task for some, but for the nonprofit, Your Excuse Is Invalid NFP it’s a pleasure.
The group was formed in January 2019 and supply grants for needed equipment such as prosthetics to remain active in day to day activities and athletics.
However, Saturday night they found themselves packing “Bre’s Sunshine Boxes” to send to those with disabilities. Bre Reynolds, one of the board members and a physical therapist, said the boxes are meant to go to those going through dark times and could use some light.
“Those are gifts that are intended to be sent to primarily children, but children or adults who have had some sort of event where they maybe need a little bit of sunshine in their lives,” Reynolds said.
The idea all started with the nonprofit’s founder, Ashley Green, a former athlete who was just 17 years old when a traumatic ankle injury started a chain reaction that changed her life. The ankle injury eventually led to 17 surgeries, 13 on the leg, a spine mass and the amputation of her right leg below the knee.
Green said she was able to get through those tough times with the support of family and friends.
“I had a lot of people supporting me and helping me through my situation and kind of helping me get on my feet where I wanted to be,” Green said.
She said this inspired the sunshine boxes. She said her physical therapist, Bre Reynolds who she also named the boxes after, was a ray of sunshine during her time in the hospital and afterwards, so she wanted to provide those in similar situations with the same joy.
“So we started this and started taking the boxes to where they needed to go whether it be hospitals or we ship them in the mail if somebody who has recently had an amputation and gets home,” Green said.
Green said the boxes are personalized for each individual; including shirts, toys, games, activities, etc. She said she loves receiving videos of people opening up the boxes in hospitals.
Green’s now an A2 USA Paralympic Sitting Volleyball Athlete and wants to remind those with disabilities they can still live full and active lives.
“Being disabled is not anything to be negative,” Green said. “It’s being differently-abled. You can do anything anybody else can do just in a different way.”