By Jill Osborn

Mothers are analogous to Niagara Falls. We cascade, ripple, and roar whichever direction we see fit for our child. It is in our nature to protect our children. That is why it is called, mother nature. Everyone knows how powerful mother nature can be. Thus, when mothers follow their heart, children always benefit. Below is a story about how one woman followed her motherly heart and what happened as a result.

As a little girl, Mary Adkins learned quickly how to act like a mother. Her father was essentially disabled from the time Mary was two-years-old. Mary took on the role of caretaker as her mother worked.

“He was in and out of the hospital my whole life.” Mary recalls a time when she was thirteen. Her father had to be put on a respirator.

“He was only going to be on it for three days, but he never came off of it,” says Mary. After two weeks of relying on the respirator, Mary’s father died.

The future would bring Mary back to the hospital. This time, however, Mary was an adult. In fact, she was a single mother of two children. Problems began with her second baby, Bradley, at about two months. He cried uncontrollably– to the point that he would not eat, sleep, and could only be soothed by Mary.

“I started to fight with the doctors, telling them I knew something was wrong.” Dealing with the doctors became an unfortunate ordeal. But Mary kept listening to that inner voice telling her to fight for her son.

“At first, they tried to tell me he had a urinary tract infection. So they put in a catheter twice on the poor boy,” Mary says. “They tried to tell me it was reflux and wrote me a prescription. I told them, ‘Before I put a pill in his mouth, you need to prove to me its reflux.’” As it turns out, Mary’s diagnosis was correct. By following her heart, Mary’s son benefited.

“Then they tried to say it was his lungs. They did an x-ray and said he had an enlarged heart. He had an EKG twice. He does have a heart murmur, but not an enlarged heart.” By six months, Bradley had qualified for services and help from the Children Developmental Service Agencies because he was so far behind developmentally. “Everyone kept telling me he’s behind because he’s a boy. But something just didn’t feel right.” Mary follow her tenacious heart, which eventually led her to a doctor who could give her an answer.

“At Brenner’s Hospital, they did a spinal tap, two different MRI’s, and tons of blood tests to see if he was mentally handicapped because he was that far behind. Everything came back normal. However, he was diagnosed with autism.” (Imagine what could have happened had Mary not followed her heart in trying to fight to find the cause of her son’s troubles.)

After discovering Bradley’s diagnosis, Mary said she, “..cried all night. The next morning, I put my big girl panties on and was on the phone calling doctors and therapists for the next week and a half.” Bradley began taking over forty hours of therapy. When Bradley seemed to have problems, Mary discovered an alternate way to care for her son’s needs.

“He hit a wall as far as going out in public. So a doctor recommended a service dog.” Service dogs, astonishingly, know when a child is acting with anxious behavior and will lay its head down on the child’s lap to help calm him.

“Bradley is a darter and has almost been run over twice in the parking lot. But if he is tethered to a service dog and the dog feels him pull, the dog immediately hits the ground. The dog can also be taught to find Bradley if he gets away in a store.” There is one problem. A service dog costs $9,900. To raise money, Mary has set up a

Mary will continue to fight to for whatever it is her children need. Living up to her name, Mary sure is a saint to her children.

Mary’s account is just one of the stories told in Jill Osborn’s book, “The Ping Effect. The art of following your heart.” Jill will be talking about her book on FOX 8 December, 4th at 9:30 a.m. on the news segment, Mommy Matters. Jill will also be holding a book signing on December, 5th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Clemmons Civic Club. A portion of the proceeds will go to Bradley’s Service Dog Fund. Jill is mother to a four year old, two year old, and has one on the way. For more information about Jill, you can go to