Abbie Dougherty is a Native North Carolinian, having lived in Charlotte for the past 18 years. She and her husband Michael live in the South Park area with two amazing boys, Gray (10) and Riley (6). In 1999 at the age of 9 months, Gray was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Abbie is truly a smarty mom dedicated to making sure that Gray has every resource available and working to find a cure for SMA. I am happy to introduce you to Abbie and her family, and I know you will enjoy getting to know them.
Tell us about Gray’s Gang?
Gray’s Gang is a 100% volunteer organization established in 1999 and is committed to defeating the deadly disease of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Our mission is to raise awareness about SMA, and to raise money to facilitate a cure. In the past, Gray’s Gang has hosted yearly BBQ Silent Auction Fundraisers in Raleigh at the N.C. State homecoming football games. With the help of family and friends (including my dear friend Maria Stone who oversaw the BBQ event), Gray’s Gang has raised over $170,000 for SMA.
Tell us about the first annual Gray’s Gang event in Charlotte.
We decided it was time to bring the event to Charlotte in order to include more of Gray’s friends and the community. This year we are hosting the 1st Annual Gray’s Gang Walk and Roll at Alexander Graham Middle School on Saturday, April 25th from 3-5pm. We have an amazing group of volunteers pulling this event together and not only will there be the mile “walk and roll”, but we will also have a Chinese raffle, face-painting for kids, a magician, and many other kid friendly activities following the race. All proceeds will be donated to Families of SMA and Fight SMA. You can find out more information on Gray’s website http://www.graysgang.com/or you can register or donate online at http://www.fsma.org/graysgangwnr2009
Even though you have a child with special needs, it doesn’t seem to hold your family back from enjoying all of the great activities that Charlotte has to offer, tell us how you do it.
We do it like anybody else, just with a little more fore thought. Accessibility is the main issue with us and if a wheelchair can get in, we go! We do have to get creative sometimes and carrying Gray is still an option right now, so we will do that if necessary. We have a travel chair that helps out when he visits other people’s homes because his regular chair is too heavy to lift. Gray enjoys going to the Panther games, Bobcat games and also has taken rides on the light rail.
You have two adorable boys, tell us the funniest thing either one has ever said?
When Riley was little, Gray said to me “I think when Riley turns 2, he will listen better” I said why is that? Gray said, “because his ears will be bigger”.
Gray was doing a book report on Abe Lincoln. Riley was 4 at the time. I asked Riley if he knew anything about Abe Lincoln. He started blinking his eyes at me and asked, “is this a blinkin’?”
What is your favorite activity to do with Gray?
Plays at Imaginon/Children’s Theatre are a big hit with Gray. We have seen shows there since he was 3 and the plays continue to grow with him. The productions are fabulous and it is something Gray can do…..he loves it! We are looking forward to trying out the new bowling center at the Epicenter soon.
What is your favorite activity to do as a family?
Friday night is game night. Yatzee, Sorry, Life and Dominos are the games of choice. Also, the wii tournaments have been a big hit since the boys got one for their birthdays. Gray is great at tennis!
What mommy-only activities do you enjoy?
I’m very fortunate to have an amazing group of girlfriends! I get lots of girl time with different “girls’ nights out”, including book club, bible study, neighborhood women’s club, variety society, Christian Mother’s Group and I’m even lucky enough to go on a weekend get-away with my girlfriends once in a while!
Favorite restaurant with kids?
Original Pancake House after church on Sunday and Brixx Pizza on Fairview, especially when the weather is nice. The kids enjoy the fountain and roaming around outside. For pizza nights at home, we get take-out from Brooklyn Pizza.
Favorite restaurant without kids?
Lang Van if we are paying, Del Friscos if we are not paying.
Parks are difficult for Gray, but The Green uptown is great. He can ride around on his wheelchair, making discoveries and enjoying all of the hidden treats along the paths.
Favorite Toy Store?
Learning Express at Stonecrest. They have a unique selection of toys and they also have supported Gray’s Gang for the past 7 years with a fundraiser in the fall in which they donate 20% of the purchases to Gray’s Gang. For electronics, GameStop is our kid’s favorite.
Tell us what you couldn’t live without?
DVR! hee hee. Seriously, my faith, first of all, and of course, my family.
Best thing about raising your kids in Charlotte?
Extended family is here, there is nothing like having them close by. Charlotte is a beautiful city, the climate is great and it has such a family atmosphere.
Best kept secret in Charlotte?
Isabella….my sister-in-law’s boutique in Myers Park.
Thank you so much Abbie. And smarty readers, don’t forget to email us your “mominations” at email@example.com.
Don’t forget to register for our latest giveaway! Click here to register to win your $100 shoe-shopping spree at Tootsies Too. Deadline to enter is 11pm on Wednesday, 4/1. Don’t worry if you don’t win – Tootsies is offering a free pair of fun socks for every pair of shoes you buy in the month of April (starting next week). You have to mention CSP to get them.