Many thanks to you and all the staff at Dragon Gym for your mentorship, friendship, and constant encouragement! Justice is a wonderful, authentic boy who loves to reach out, meet people, and support others. He's a true friend. I'm blessed that your sentiments also echo those of his teachers in school, year after year. He's learned much patience, kindness, resilience, and compassion in his 10 years. These past four months have been marvelous for him, and I'm thrilled to have Justice passionate about attending DG. For the first time in his 10 years, he's finally found a sport that he thoroughly loves and desires to work hard at and excel in.

Only two years ago, Justice was a little boy unable to participate in any sports. He has a hereditary blood disorder (hereditary spherocytosis) from birth that caused chronic anemia and an enlarged spleen, requiring blood infusions and spending much time in doctors’ offices and hospitals. To make a long story short, he eventually had surgery to remove the spleen. The pros of this surgery outweighed the cons, and he was able to start regaining energy, and there was no risk of spleen rupture. It took Justice a long time for his "mind" to catch up to what his body now had the ability to do. He was so excited to do things like wrestle with his brother without injury and finally play football with the neighbor boys his age, and our family was excited to watch him. On various occasions in the months following his recovery, he would come inside discouraged after joining in with neighbor boys during flag football and soccer. He listened to comments like, "You're not athletic," "You're horrible at sports," and "We don't want you playing with us because you don't know the rules." His older brother would look out for him but wasn't always around. Of course, most of these kids didn't know his history.

We encouraged him, and we told him to never give up, to love, and to be a good friend. He's wired to march to the beat of his own drum—strong, sweet, and not one to give into peer pressure. He's not afraid to speak his mind and thoughts. He's sincere and  friendly, and he always seems to have a posse following him with his great ability to lead without effort. We've surely had to reign all this in from time to time. (Of course our greatest strengths can also be the greatest weaknesses.)

In summary, DG has helped strengthen his weaknesses and mature his strengths! It's a joy to see him in "one of his elements," make new wonderful friends, desire to be teachable, and communicate to us how he loves a "strict yet fun" atmosphere that promotes discipline and care! Thanks again for taking the time to acknowledge our son and to find out some of his story.


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Reta Watkins