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Ragan and her Champion Sisters!
November 1, 2005
 
Angels - Miracles
&
Good-News-Stories
Inspirational Newsletter
Sharing from the Heart since January 1996


Editor
Mary Ellen "AngelScribe"
 
 
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In This Edition
 
- Ragan and her Champion Sisters
- Ragan's Miracle Dream
- Miracle Books for Loved Ones

 
Dearest Readers,
 
I have been working on this next newsletter for 3 months.
 
The story is so special, it had to be perfect for you.
 
I finally finished it this morning, having no idea until a few moments ago that today is November 1st.... 111!
 
Angel numbers! Read on and see why that is relevent to this issue and Ragan.
 
When my niece stayed with us, she took Taekwondo from two sisters, Morgan and Erin Baker, 3rd Degree Black Belts who own a studio here in Cottage Grove.
 
Morgan continues to hold Oregon State's American Taekwondo Association (ATA) triple crown championship in forms, spars and weapons since 2003; Erin is ATA's Oregon State Champion in forms and sparing for 2000 and 2001.
 
Morgan is also a two-time World Top Ten finisher in weapons!
 
This means that out of everyone in ATA Taekwondo in the world she qualified with nine other folks!
 
I am impressed with the Bakers' skill level, their integrity, compassion, kindness, and dedication to their studio and students.
 
The sisters have winner smiles too!
 
I watched them extend their kindness to their handicapped younger sister, Ragan.
 
What makes the following story amazing is the ages of these
three sisters.
 
Ragan 18, Morgan 21, and the author of these next two stories, Erin, is 22 years old.
 
Enjoy the miracle they weave together with their love.
 
Angelic Blessings to you and your loved ones,
Mary Ellen ^I^ "Angel Scribe"
 

 
Ragan's Wish
By her older sister, Erin, in Cottage Grove, Oregon

My baby sister, Ragan, was 18 years old and autistic.
 
Ragan died a year ago, and I would like to share the events prior to her passing, because I believe it was the best times
we had with her.
 
It is also very therapeutic, so please bear with me.

When Ragan was eight years old she developed epilepsy.
 
Getting her out to do things which we take for granted, like shopping, visiting friends, and vacations was always a struggle.
 
Last summer, we were thrilled when Ragan showed excitement about going to the county fair with her 'best friends" (a couple of my black belt students), Morgan (our middle sister) and myself.
 
Ragan had fun and enjoyed eating ice cream (a rare treat), looking at the animals, and watching the rides.
 
Due to her epilepsy, we didn't allow her to go on the rides, but she wanted to ride the Super Slide (a huge wavy contraption) so much that we finally gave in and let her go.
 
Seeing the look of pure happiness on her face was well worth my last five dollars!

A couple of weeks later, close to Morgan's 21st birthday, Ragan phoned me at work, something she never did.
 
We spoke for several minutes, then she phoned again later on that day to chat.
 
It was cute how in the middle of the topic, Ragan would suddenly announce, "I love you too. Goodbye!" and then hang up without me saying anything.

One evening shortly before Morgan's 21st birthday, Ragan came up to her and showed Morgan the birthday card
she had made for her.
 
Ragan had lovingly drawn twenty-one pink flowers with an extra one for a new year ahead.
 
Morgan told her it was very nice, but it wasn't her birthday yet.
 
Years ago when Ragan was younger, she had a habit of spontaneously and excitedly telling us what our gifts were before the actual event.
 
She was tickled to know that she would be making us happy with the gift and she just could not hold in her joy.
 
Ragan was so cute, she would usually ask, "Do you like watches?" or whatever the gift was.
 
Ragan eventually became an expert at keeping gift secrets, to the point that she would clam up every time we wanted to find out what Christmas was going to bring.
 
So for Ragan to show Morgan the card she had made before Morgan's birthday was a bit unusual, but no less sweet.
 
On the morning of Morgan's birthday, I got up early to visit with our mother before she left for work.
 
After Mom left, I went to wake Morgan and wish her a happy birthday.
 
Then, I went to wake Ragan for Morgan's birthday breakfast.

To my total devastation, I found that Ragan had died in her sleep from a seizure.

Ragan must have known in some odd way, because the night before, Ragan had carefully placed Morgan's birthday card and present on her desk.
 
Ragan had lovingly wrapped the gift herself.

Ragan, was the most gentle, loving, and caring soul I will ever know.
 
Ragan taught me patience.
 
Without Ragan, I would never have had the courage to teach the eight autistic students we now have at our Taekwondo studio.
 
All this time, when I thought we were teaching Ragan, Ragan was teaching us.
 
She taught us that love and patience would bring results that would have been considered impossible before, rewards more precious than ever expected or received.

She was always wanting to help people.
 
No matter where we were or what we were doing, "I help?" was a common request of hers. (She was the best Do Jahng
cleaner I will ever hope to have.)

Her death has left an empty spot in our hearts, but hopefully it will get better over time.
 
We feel better knowing that Ragan is now at peace, and that she no longer has seizures or the autistic shroud to cover her.
 
One of the blessings of a small town like Cottage Grove is
if it weren't for my Taekwondo students and their families, we would have been in a much worse state.
 
When I discovered Ragan, I was beyond hysterical.
 
I called 911.
 
The responding officer and detective were parents of a couple of our students.
 
Before our mother arrived home, these gentleman calmed and comforted us.
 
The other Taekwondo families filled our refrigerator, mailbox and doorstep with food, comforting sentiments and flowers.

Our American Taekwondo families offered support when we had no one else.
 
I will forever be thankful for the love that flowed from Ragan during her life and the love she left us wrapped in upon
her death.

Bowing While Typing,
Erin
Big sister to Ragan forever
erinbaker@cottagegroveata.com
 

 
Dearest Readers,
 
There is an amazing miracle tied to Ragan's passing ...
read on!
 


Ragan's Miracle Dream
by Erin, her big sister in Cottage Grove, Oregon
 
Ragan always told us she was going to go to Harvard.
 
She described how she would live in Massachusetts and go to Harvard...CONSTANTLY.
 
There was never any question either, it was more of an announcement...always stated as fact, never as an "I wish" or a
"maybe" statement.
 
So, at the time of her death we were saddened as her dream would never materialize.
 
We had another problem on our hands.
 
When Ragan died, the only thing we thought about was having her brain donated for autism research.
 
It was something my mother had investigated years before, but never kept any information or knew who to contact.
 
Time was running out for Ragan's brain to be donated, so the funeral home got to work and found the Autism Tissue Program (memoriesofhope.org) operated by National Alliance for Autism Research (naar.org).
 
Fortunately, Ragan may still be able to help others who have autism.
 
Despite the time lapse which occurred between her actual death and my finding her, it was possible for Ragan's brain to
be sent to a medical facility for research to help others.
 
Would you believe! Ragan got to go to Harvard after all!
 
We live on the West Coast of the USA in Oregon and the unusual thing is, the facility that was in charge of Ragan's brain was (surprise) the Harvard Brain Bank Tissue Resource Center (brainbank.com) where it was then sent to the National Alliance for Autism Research for a complete analysis and study.

Now Ragan will continue her desire to help others, and help find better treatments or maybe even a cure for autism.
 
Shortly after Ragan died, Morgan mentioned how she was noticing "1's" everywhere after reading about them in an ANGEL SCRIBE newsletter.
 
When we would drive out of town to a tournament, we would occasionally glance at the freeway exit signs, which read "111."
 
My occasional glance at the clock while working late, going to bed, or waking up in the middle of the night would mostly
read 11:11 PM or 1:11 AM.
 
My involvement with the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and creating a new fund-raiser (ATA Kicks FAR for NAAR, autismwalk.org/atakicks) has brought a whole new onset of "1's"!
 
Our first international committee meeting was held on the 11th of March at 11:00 AM PST (not scheduled by me).
 
When I called from the computer to let Morgan know, she called back for me to look at the clock.
 
1:11!
 
When I was putting up a display at a local bank for Autism Awareness month, the only time I glanced at my watch it read
1:11 PM.
 
During my Taekwondo classes, I often use a stopwatch for our exercises.
 
When I glance at the time, it some how always reads 1 minute 11 seconds!
 
Here's something that happened just this morning!
 
I was home alone, and for some reason went to my bedroom (had no reason, I just walked) and saw a picture Morgan had drawn (just that morning too) of a bright rainbow-colored hot air balloon on a sunny day gliding over the forest.
 
Ragan had the awesome opportunity to ride in a hot air balloon (just like the one Morgan drew) when we were younger.
 
As I turned to leave, our Karaoke machine had "11" on the display.

How I got started in fund raising for autism research happened after Ragan's brain was donated to the National Alliance for
Autism Research.
 
Until then, I never knew who or what NAAR was.
 
A regional NAAR representative contacted my mother and I after hearing about Ragan's gift.
 
We were invited to join a committee for a benefit walk in Portland, Oregon (autismwalk.org/portland).
 
Not thinking I would have much to offer, I went anyway thinking it was at least something positive to do in Ragan's memory.
 
After going to a few meetings, I thought about forming my own team in memory of Ragan.
 
What if I could get my Taekwondo school involved?
 
Then maybe other ATA schools in the state!
 
After I posted a few messages to an online ATA message group I started, I was contacted by a fellow ATA school
owner in Webster, Texas who has an autistic son.
 
She suggested we involve the entire ATA ...all 1,500 schools and 300,000 members.
 
After presenting the idea to the ATA Board of Directors, we were given the green light to pursue the project.
 
Thus, "ATA Kicks FAR for NAAR" was born.
 
Right now, we have 14 schools in the US and Canada who are hosting Kick-a-Thons, Break-A-Thons, Walks, and even one
brave school owner in Canada who shaved her head - all in the name of Autism Research - In memory of my sister and for all others who continue to live with autism.

To date we have raised $60,000 to help make lives better.
 
Oh, and MSNBC heard about us and did an article...AND they updated their sight yesterday at 11:11 when I went in today to check on it! msnbc.msn.com/id/7980963/
 
Morgan is 21, I am 22...if we can make the world a better place for others we will...just like Ragan taught us.
 
Bowing While Typing,
Erin Baker
Chairman, ATA Kicks FAR for NAAR
Baker's ATA Black Belt Academy
www.bakersata.com
erinbaker@cottagegroveata.com
Cottage Grove, Oregon

 
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