Friday, June 22, 2012

Ward Foley: Thanking His Lucky Scars

Everyone’s Story welcomes Ward Foley as its new guest this week. Ward, aka Scarman, was born with a rare congenital disorder called Arthrogryosis Multiplex Congenita (AMC), a painful and often debilitating disorder. Instead of letting AMC control his life, Ward followed the path that God wanted him to walk down. Along the way he met many special people, encountered extraordinary life lessons, and encouraged countless of souls. How? As the title of his memoir says, he thanked his lucky scars! On his FB page he often highlights children with AMC, saying “My Favorite (name of person)." I’m honored that My Favorite Ward is paying us a visit.

Book Giveaway: Ward is offering a copy of his book THANK MY LUCKY SCARS to 2 different lucky commenters. I just finished reading this book last night and can easily say that this is the most uplifting book I have ever read. For ease, please leave your email address within the comment.

Ward would like to share this with you:

Ward, I congratulate you on choosing such an excellent, eye-catching title for your memoir, THANK MY LUCKY SCARS. It well expresses your positive attitude. We all have scars, whether physical or emotional. Through God’s grace we’ve become stronger people because of these scars. Do you have any encouragement to those with tender, fresh scars?

Thank you. A friend who designed the cover of my book also suggested the title, and I agreed.

Good question! We’re not given a good life or bad life. God gives us life and it’s up to us to make it good or bad. We all have scars, (some we can see and some we can’t) some emotional, some physical. My work with recovering alcoholics and addicts has taught me that sometimes emotional pain is harder to deal with than physical. And my work with Hospice has shown me that being there for others, just being available can make all the difference.

But, the key thing in dealing with any type of scar is to allow yourself to make mistakes. It’s okay to say, I hurt. It’s okay to mess up. Sure, you have to love others unconditionally but it’s very important to love yourself unconditionally!

And, give to others. You’ll be amazed at the peace you will receive by both getting out/over yourself as well as by helping others. Helping others can truly be one of the greatest gifts to our self.

You write about how a disability does not equal the end of life but rather can be the beginning. Please explain.

Here’s the reality: no one really has the control they think over what happens in their life. I first began to realize this when working with dying patients in Hospice. When we become more vulnerable by accepting our weaknesses then we can actually become stronger and begin to find peace.
Recovering alcoholics, addicts, and parents who have sadly lost a child seem to like THANK MY LUCKY SCARS the most because of the message of hope. Hope is something we all need. When we accept and embrace the hardships we will then begin to heal. When we TRY to take the worst and make it a positive we begin to see hope.

You “bribed” a friend to accompany you cross-country while you bicycled with promises of seeing miracles. Would you like to share one of these experiences?

We never expected to meet the people we did. One of the biggest miracles occurred in Dallas-Ft. Worth. The TV news picked up my story of bicycling cross-country. This resulted in me meeting a family who had a boy with AMC. Unfortunately, their boy had died. I still keep in touch and what a blessing this family has been to me throughout the years.
In comparing children with AMC to celebrities, you try to remember everyone is equally famous in the eyes of God. Beautifully stated! Yet, you confess you’ve had trouble believing this about yourself. Please share.

One of the hardest things for me was accepting myself. I always wanted to be “normal”—whatever that is! By accepting myself as is—the whole package deal—my life changed for the best. It emotionally liberated me. I realized it’s okay to be who I am. Everyone’s normal is relative to himself or herself. God loves each of us for who we are.

I can relate to your frustration about trying to do the best in life, but sometimes it’s not “good enough.” When you relayed this to your friend Steve he replied: “He knows it.” Share with viewers about who He is.

Although it was Steve and I, alone in the room, I know that God spoke though him, that God was saying directly to me that He knows I am trying the best that I can and that is all that matters. Society says success is about money. Who has the biggest house, the best job, etc? That’s not God’s definition. Success is not about being on Oprah, but visiting with someone and or offering a smile to a stranger. Focus on God. Walk with God. The expectation from society and us is a lot of that weight that presses down on our shoulders.

I just read a great quote by actor Martin Sheen: “The most important thing is that regret is useless and faith is necessary and love is everything.” Any thoughts?

I agree 100%. It’s all about that unconditional love I mentioned—the unconditional love not of only others but of yourself. I once gave a speech to 400 kindergarteners up through third graders in a Christian school. I tried to phrase things simply: God is love. The more you love the closer you are to God. And, resentment of others takes us away from that love, God.

By the way, I still have those 400 thank-you cards that those kids sent to me.

You go by the AKA “Scarman.” How do you hope God sees you?

Ward's favorite Alayna with her doll
I believe God sees all of my good, all of my bad, and accepts me for who I am. He knows I keep trying and sees my true heart.

I have several ladies who volunteer to make blank cloth dolls. We then distribute them at AMC conferences—and wherever I go—and ask children to draw in their scars. By doing so I’m hoping they learn to love and accept who they are, and that God loves them just the way they are.

That’s what this life comes down to: unconditional love for yourself, for others, giving yourself to others, and finding the peace that God wants you to enjoy.

Have you been on the receiving end of any encouragement? Or, have you uplifted anyone's spirits? Ward will enjoy hearing from you.

Author Bio:

Ward Foley was born with multiple birth defects and very little chance to live.  But he did, only to undergo decades of surgery, agonizing rehabilitation, ridicule, and humiliation. He was also severely burned in a deep fryer, beat up, and almost killed by a drunk driver.

In his mid-twenties, Ward married and adopted two infant children. Relocating from California to Kansas, he coached little league, taught Sunday school and served as a community volunteer. Today, Ward is a happily married man and his two children have recently graduated college.

It turns out that each “scar” in his life brought Foley one step closer to the people and experiences that would give him what he wanted most.

After the death of a close friend, Foley found himself entering the world of hospice care and a circle of people who had more to teach him than he ever imagined.

Since the publication of his memoir, Thank My Lucky Scars, in 2006, Ward has emerged as a popular and sought-after motivational speaker, in addition to his regular hospice work. He has spoken in myriad venues across the country, bringing forth a different kind of hope with his message of faith, endurance, and inspiration.

Relevant Links:

You can find Ward at:


  1. Ward is an incredible inspiration and I am very honored to call him a friend. Not only is he an inspiration to my children who were born with their own challenges, but he has opened my mind to accept people just as they are. His books have helped me to realize what the most important things are in life. His message of self acceptance is one that touches everyone regardless of their struggles.

    1. Maggie, thanks for your visit to Everyone's Story. I agree, Ward is indeed incredible. After reading his memoir, and chatting with him on the phone, I'm wondering if he's actually an angel sent by God himself to offer hope to so many!

      I've always believed in unconditional love from others, but it took talking with Ward just last week to finally learn about loving myself unconditionally because that's how God love me :)

      May you and your children be blessed with His loving mercy.

  2. Ward is an amazing example of how a simple life, lived for God, can make a difference in our world. Thanks Elaine for hosting him on your blog.

    I especially liked the title of Ward's book. I have scars from a childhood accident; I wrestled with a glass door, and the door won! But I always remember that Jesus' scars on the Cross have overcome mine.

    1. Thanks for the visit, Tessa. You're always welcomed here :)

      Well said about what Jesus has done for us.

  3. Thank you my favorite Maggie and favorite Tessa. And thank you again my most favorite Elaine :)

  4. Hello Elaine:

    A delightful interview with, Ward Foley, who I was fortunate to meet online a few years ago. He is undoubtedly the most inspirational person I have ever known, and I am truly honoured to call him my friend.

    Thank you both for sharing this wonderful story of a truly great man.

    My very best, Stuart

  5. One of the songs i really like refers to the scars remaining to remind us we're just sinners saved by Grace, and that our Lord bears Scars too. i had not heard of AMC before, but appreciate that he reaches out to others. i would love to learn more. Thank you for having him here today.

  6. Thank you, both Stuart & Marianne, for visiting and your lovely comments. We all have scars, and that's why Ward speaks right to our hearts... and best, he leads us right to where our focus should be: a loving God who helps us put each of our feet forward.

  7. I would love the opportunity to win a copy of Thank My Lucky Scars by Ward Foley. Thank you, Elaine, for introducing him to us through an interview on your blog. What an inspiration.

    1. Cheri, what a pleasure to see you visiting Everyone's Story. Glad you were uplifted by Ward's story.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Thank you Ross, Marianne and Cheri :) You are too nice but I am very appreciative. And Cheri, whether you win a book or not I will make sure to send you a free copy.

  10. AnonymousJune 23, 2012

    Elaine, you truly have the most interesting and inspiring guests on your blog. Ward is an angel on earth for all of the good he has done. Considering such a heartbreaking past, his attitude and selfless devotion to those in need is amazing. I'm so glad that he found a woman and children to love and share his amazing life with. He brings to much happiness to others, it's heartening to know that he gets it returned. ;-))

    Nancy Loyan Schuemann

    1. Nancy--great to see you again in this little corner of the world! So happy you enjoyed Ward's segment!

  11. Loved this interview and the video. Your statement about it being up to us to make life good or bad really resonated.

    1. Jennifer, I agree. Ward has this knack for saying the truth with a heart surrounding it. I learned a lot of life lessons while reading his memoir!

      And as always, thanks for your visit.

  12. AnonymousJune 24, 2012

    "Here’s the reality: No one really has the control
    they think over what happens in their life." .....
    "When we become more vulnerable by accepting our
    weaknesses then we can actually become stronger
    and begin to find peace." ....."Hope is something
    we all need." Words from Ward Foley as seen on
    this site.

    As a father, the highest priority is to protect our
    children from any harm. You try your best; and you
    never, never ever give up, even when things look
    bad. But sometimes you just have to come to the
    realization that it was impossible to keep your
    child safe. When that happens, it's a long and
    difficult road back to normalcy. Ward Foley
    presents a plan which can help us try and get
    past such hard times.

    Elaine - Thanks for interviewing Mr. Foley, and also
    for displaying some of his writings and comments on
    your "Everyone's Story" blog. His narrative is both inspiring and informative. Your blog continues to
    "rejoice in the good stuff". It's an exceptional
    journal with a brand new chapter every week.
    Bob F. 24 June 2012

  13. Bob--so nice to see you back here. Aware of the pain & grief you & your family suffered, my heart goes out to you yet once again... always. The past can't be erased, nor should certain things be forgotten, but like Ward, if we look forward, help others to smile, keep our eyes on God, the walk ahead becomes a bit easier to step down.

  14. I sincerely thank you Nancy, Jennifer and Bob.

  15. Great inteview. Great story. I have a son with autism, and though I still wish he could speak enough to tell me what's on his mind, he has been a great blessing to me and my whole family. I know God has great plans for him. He's already given us so much.

    1. Welcome back, Connie. Like you, I am so thankful that God had designed us each to be a beautiful & unique gift to Him, and in return, a blessing to us all. By reading Ward's memoir I have re-learned the power of accepting others for all of their differences and can only pray for others to accept me for mine.

  16. Thank you Connie. I always tell parents it was much easier being me than a parent of someone like me. What a gift you are to your son.

  17. AnonymousJune 27, 2012


    Thank you for sharing this touching story. It such an inspiration to see how you bring comfort and hope to others when God has said of your own pain and trials, "My Grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." --2 Corinthians 12:9

    May He continue to strengthen your walk and your powerful witness, dear brother.

    Blessings Sent,

    KB Schaller, Author

    1. KB, your visit here is always appreciated :)

      Beautiful words you shared with Ward.

  18. AnonymousJune 28, 2012

    It was a pleasure.

    KB Schaller, Author

  19. AnonymousJune 29, 2012


    Thank you for sharing this with us. I like that you keep it simple, God loves us just as we are, meets us where we are at, and knows everything about us, and LOVES us anyways. Our scars are all different, we all have them, some people can see, some they can't. As an adult Sunday School Teacher, I would love an opportunity to have your book for our group as a testament of HOPE, LOVE and COURAGE in challenging times. God Bless and may your light shine on all those you touch.

    Thank you Elaine for highlighting another outstanding leader amoung us.

    Lynne Morse

    1. Lynne, thanks so much for visiting Everyone's Story. Your visit means a lot to me :) Ward is away from his computer until Sunday, so you may want to check back over the next few days to watch for his reply. I'm sure he will be quite encouraged by your comment. And I agree, Ward is truly an outstanding leader, and plus, I'll add that he is one of the most unselfish people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.

  20. Another "blog week" is about to kick off with another new & exciting guest, one who I'm eager to introduce everyone to, yet, I'm sad to see that Ward's visit has ended... I sure hope he will like to come back for another round of visits with everyone. I can not say enough about Ward's positive attitude and reflection upon God, and how he has personally helped me re-think some of life's issues with a whole different perspective. His book THANK MY LUCKY SCARS is nothing short of extraordinary.

    Ward is away from his computer for a couple more days, so those of you waiting replies from him may want to check back after the weekend.

    Ward has generously offered 2 book giveaways of his memoir THANK MY LUCKS SCARS. The 2 winners are:

    Congratulations, you two. Ward & I will be in touch with you shortly.

  21. KB Schaller and Lynne Morse, I sincerely thank you both. In fact, I'd like to thank everyone who has taken the time to post. I greatly appreciate your words and support.
    God bless you all

  22. AnonymousJuly 03, 2012

    You are welcome, Ward, and deserving of every good thing.

    Prayers and Blessings,
    KB Schaller


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