Stories to Inspire

A Card Game with Numbers Adds Up to Success

By Beth Lawler

Photo of Anne and Kevin Lawler

Anne and Kevin Lawler, Beth’s parents, who both possess an upbeat and inspirational attitude toward any challenges that come their way.

My father, Kevin Lawler, was diagnosed with MS in 1976, at age 36. In the days of no MRI’s (magnetic resonance imaging), it took a few years of symptoms before the diagnosis became clear. By 1986, he was in a wheelchair and had to stop working as a commercial real estate broker. By 2000, it became necessary for him to go to a nursing home. He has now been there for 12 years and my mother, Anne, visits him there daily after her workday in New York City.

My dad is an incredible survivor. He keeps an amazingly upbeat attitude, every day, even though his body has completely failed him and he cannot do anything for himself. The simplest tasks that most people take for granted, like sipping a drink, are a challenge to him. In spite of this, he never feels sorry for himself and does not expect others to feel sorry for him either. He is always positive and happy – everyone at the nursing home is amazed by his attitude, his ability to laugh and joke with them, and his desire to entertain people.

Photos of App-ithmetic
App-ithmetic – free at the Apple iTunes store – is an accessible and fun game consisting of arithmetical puzzles. With different levels of difficulty, it will challenge both beginners and experts alike, while helping to keep math skills sharp.

One of the things that has kept him busy in the nursing home is a numbers’ card game that he invented, called “Arithmecards.” In this game, he lays out eight cards (each labeled with a number between one and nine), and uses the four mathematical functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) through seven of the cards, to “equal” the eighth card.

My dad has since developed this game into an app, and renamed it “App-ithmetic.” It is available now on iPhones, iPods, and iPads. Presently, the app is available for free download via the Apple iTunes store. He is so excited, as this game has been his lifeline over the years, giving him something to focus on and giving him a goal – to make this game a success. We are all hopeful that the game will become popular and perhaps even profitable for him, however, just having it available as an app is a huge achievement for my dad in itself.

My father is truly an inspiration to all who meet and work with him. He has risen above his daunting circumstances and is a role model to all who know him.