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For week ended June 20, 1999 Posted 26 Jun 1999

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LDS Dad contributes where it matters most (A dad for all seasons)

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Dad contributes where it matters most (A dad for all seasons)
Los Angeles Times 19Jun99 L5
By Darrell Satzman

LDS Church member and father Dan Forester is loved by his family. Forester, a freelance video editor helps his children, sings to them, helps his daughter with her homework, and provides a lap for cuddling. But Forester is a little unusual as a father because he has spinal muscular atrophy which confines him to a wheelchair.

While he was born with this condition, Forester was able to walk until an operation meant to strengthen his legs resulted in additional atrophy. Forester was then faced with a choice between strenuous physical therapy so that he could walk again, or getting an education.

He went to BYU, earning a bachelor's degree in film production. From there he moved to Austin, Texas, where he med and married his wife of 11 years, Terry. She admits difficulty adjusting to the fact that Dan couldn't walk, after growing up the daughter of a "a barrel-chested ex-Marine with a bulldog tattoo." She had to rethink her notions about masculinity during their courtship. "I learned so much," Tracy said. "I dated guys who were able-bodied but Dan was head and shoulders above them in compassion and sensitivity."

Now Forester works on television shows like "Cybill," "Grace Under Fire" and the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," which his 9-year-old daughter thinks is cool. "I like to tell my friends and they get all excited," says McKenna.

Forester says that fatherhood is the biggest challenge and the biggest joy of his life. "It's a wonderful responsibility and a wonderful opportunity to be one of the two people a child relies on most for guidance," he said. And his wife says he is a great father. "Dan really has a wonderful bond with both of them," Tracy said. "Dan's a very patient dad and he's very compassionate and kind."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information