The characters in my book Pip: A Very Special Caterpillar are based on real people. The central character, Pip, gets his moxie and hero-like personality from my brother-in-law, Phillip Macri. Phillip’s life and accomplishments are inspiring. In the Fall of 2009, there was a need for reassurance and reflection in his life. Through coincidence, circumstance or a higher-power, I offered this story book to serve that need.

Athletic and a fine student in the New Castle City School District, Phillip nurtured his passion for basketball. He and his sister, Charlene, spent countless hours from a very young age, perfecting their skills on the court. That drive and determination paid off. As Phillip entered high school, he excelled as a point guard and felt the rush of success.

On August 28, 1987 Phillip travelled with his sister to a softball tournament in Virginia Beach, VA. They took a few hours to enjoy the sand and the surf. Phillip, at the tender age of seventeen, dove into the warm ocean. As he hit the water, a wave rolled his neck downward, breaking his neck. He hit the bottom, suddenly unable to move or call for help. A then-stranger who was in the near-by water, Linda Potts, felt something brush against her leg. Appearing lifeless in the water was the young man. She pulled him to dry land. Rescuers arrived, as did his family. Phillip was critically injured and his life was forever changed.

Phillip spent the next three months battling to survive.

Rebecca and Phillip in 1996
Phillip and his parents

The basketball star from New Castle, Pennsylvania had no feeling and no movement from the neck down. Phillip battled

through surgeries, setbacks and depression. His family stayed with him, prayed with him and learned to care for him. His parent’s became his life-line. They encouraged him to finish his senior year at NCHS and the town rallied around their young sports star.

With the same drive and determination, Phillip went on to get his Bachelor’s Degrees in both Communications and Political Science from Westminster College 1995. In 2001, Phillip became the co-owner of Macri Sports, Inc., a Sporting Goods, Embroidery and Screen Printing store serving western PA, where he continues to flourish as a local businessman.

He has won numerous awards from the Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania; the Salute to Courage Award; Pittsburgh Italian Sports Hall of Fame Inductee and in the spring of 2011 will be inducted into the Lawrence County Sports Hall of Fame. He has an amazing attitude and a list of accomplishments that most fully mobile people fail to achieve. I am proud to call him my brother-in-law and my friend. I am proud to call him PIP.

Phillip Today

Let love lift you and give you wings!