Local Family gets a Surprise Friday Night

Abigail St Jean


OCTOBER 21- Friday night is something that will go unforgetable to most, but live on throughout the Macdonald family for the rest of their lives. Lain MacDonald and his family were surprised Friday night at the delay of game from torrential downpours, a new handicap accessible van. Although it may have been senior night, the seniors of the team did not mind sharing their day with Lain. He brings so much more to the community than being a part of the football team.   

Stephanie Tully (Right) of Dunstable who made the event possible, posed with president of the football team Lorrie Stewart of Groton (Left) (DACEY ZOUZAS)

Stephanie Tully of Dunstable, works for a company affiliated with BraunAbility, a corporation that manufactures items for handicapped people. The company annually gives away vehicles to families in needs and the MacDonald family had been chosen to receive the vehicle. Members of BraunAbility, Tully, Coach Sousa and Principal, Mr. Woodlock, talked via conference call for an hour each for the past month and created the plan to surprise the family during halftime of the game.

Groton-Dunstable Cheerleaders holding up BraunAbility Sign for Lain (PHOTO CREDS).

“It was an amazing thing to be a part of and I am so happy for the MacDonald family who dedicate a lot of their free time at GD to help out,” Woodlock goes on to say, “Mrs. Tully and Mrs. Stewart really did most of the work in making all of it happen as well as the organizations who provided the van.”

A representative from the company Ally and BraunAbility made their way to the game and formally conducted the surprise of the new van. Charity MacDonald, Lain’s mother, submitted an application for the reward of potentially receiving the van.

Lain, MacDonald family, Stephanie Tully, and member of BraunAbility holding up another sign for Lain (PHOTO CREDS).

“After much reservation, I did write a submission for the award,” Said MacDonald.

Without the knowledge of what Friday night would bring, the process of this surprise was conducted over the course of a few months. Athletes of the football and varsity cheerleading teams found out about the event two hours before they were suppose to step on the field. The night’s events were originally to plan a halftime surprise. However, the weather canceled the game for the night. As a last minute plan, the crowd was herded into the school gym being told there was going to be a presentation and that ‘we’ would not want to miss it.

“They had my husband’s hockey practice changed so he wouldn’t miss the event and it never occurred to us this was due to the creativity of the people involved!” Said MacDonald.

Lain originally sought out the football coach, Coach Sousa to see if he could join the team. Sousa, rather than having Lain just watch from the sidelines, introduced him to a program where he can watch the plays and look over the film from previous games played called HudI.

Members of the football team holding up letters to spell out L-A-I-N (PHOTO CREDS).

“Lain requested from Coach Sousa last year, if he could join the team. When he joined the team we were trying to find a way for him to really participate in the team rather than just watch and be present.” MacDonald went on to say, “Coach Sousa introduced Lain to the Hudl program on his computer so Lain has a link to the team. He watches the clips and plays. Right now he is still working on learning the program but hopefully will have some input with the coaches on plays and analyzing the games.”

The boys love having Lain on the team. Whenever someone gets injured they are on the sidelines talking to Lain and get the opportunity to spend the most time with him. James Hastings, who is currently injured, takes his spot on the sideline next to Lain.

“He’s a good kid, he’s like the moral booster, he gets really emotional in games, like he’ll cry if we lose and get really happy if we win,” Said Hastings.

Lain never goes unnoticed while being a part of the team. He has taught the boys more about themselves and about the game of football itself. Coach Sousa makes Lain’s position on the team mean something.

“Lain has become an integral part of our team.  He attends all of our practices and functions.  The only thing he doesn’t do at this point is play in the games,” Said Sousa.

The MacDonald family poses with Lain ‘Fat Heads’ in the background held up by cheerleaders and members on the football team. (PHOTO CREDS)

Members of the cheerleading and football teams held up ‘fat heads’ of Lain’s face and the cheerleaders performed a brief ‘Lain cheer’ to indulge in the excitement. The students who were present at the game stood tall and gave Lain a standing ovation- the gym was full of roaring claps.

“Kids like Lain that bring so much to the school…it feels really good to be giving it back to him,” Said Alex Diaz, varsity cheer captain.

Lain has inspired and encouraged the meaning of what being a team is. The MacDonald family continuously gives back to the community and it was ‘our’ turn to give back to them.

Lain posing with a football, and his #49 jersey on to support his team.(CHARITY MCADONALD)

“Lain has made all of us in the football program realize the motto we use on the field, W.I.N. (What’s Important Now)  applies to other parts of our lives, not just football,” Said Sousa.

The community took into account who Lain is as a person, and a teammate. He continuously gives back to his team, supporting them and encouraging them to keep going. He is an integral member of the team.

“Without ever saying a word, Lain has touched the hearts of everyone he meets. He is a true friend, loves everyone unconditionally, and spreads happiness wherever he goes,” Said MacDonald.

While being an inspiration, a friend, a supporter and a teammate, Lain has taught the football team one important thing:

“I think Lain has taught us to appreciate how fortunate we are to be able to play football or any sport,” Said Sousa.

Although the game was postponed, the students, teams, faculty, and families were all there in the gym to support one strong member of the team. Lain is one who keeps the team, a family.

“Regardless of Lain’s abilities to functionally play during the game, Lain takes each step with the players, his heart is completely with his team during practice, games, dinners, gatherings on and off of the field.” MacDonald said, “He once told me, ‘I believe in my team’. To know he feels this strongly about something is all we had to hear to know his heart is Groton-Dunstable, and the football team is his family.”