AMARILLO, Texas, (KAMR/KCIT) — The Cunninghams know what it is like to live life in the fast lane.
They have been going 90-to-nothing for the last 20 years but it was the slow start for their youngest that has them believing in miracles.
Blaine Cunningham should not be alive today much less driving a funny car while being legally blind.
“Honestly, I think the first thing that goes through your mind is you’re kidding me, right?” Blaine said smiling. “I got the car to prove it. I mean, I can drive. It’s mind-blowing.”
Blaine’s mom, Natalie, remembers the early days when doctors were telling them Blaine and his twin brother Alex may not make it.
“They said they would be honest with us and tell us that, you know, chances of them living were very slim,” said Natalie Cunningham, fighting back tears. “But they would do the best they could and I think at first you’re just in shock and then reality hits you.”
Alex got better but Blaine was headed in the wrong direction.
Doctors noticed that something was wrong with Blaine’s progress. More tests and X-rays were ordered. That is when the family learned the problem was much more serious.
Blaine’s intestines needed to be removed. The family was told they would not grow back and they should consider his quality of life moving forward.
The family prayed.
“I’m not gonna give up until God tells me to give up on him,” said Natalie. “He never told me to give up on them. So I didn’t and he didn’t and here we are today. “
Three weeks after the surgery, doctors sat down with the family to give them the news. Blaine’s intestine was growing back. The doctors called it a miracle.
People have been counting Blaine out for the last 20 years but what they did not count on was his heart.
“My bible verse is Philippians 4:13,” said Blaine. “I can do all things through God who strengthens me and I’ve lived with that pretty much all my life. “
Blaine did everything his twin brother Alex did when they were growing up but their mother Natalie said it was not easy.
“Blaine knows that he has to work extra hard,” said Natalie. “I mean, in school, he’s had to work extra hard for things.”
Blaine’s never been afraid of hard work. He has been a mainstay at Moore Auto Parts in Dumas for the last 5 years. When he is not on the clock, he is in the family shop.
The Cunningham boys did everything together growing up except for racing. Blaine’s vision problems kept him on the sidelines while Alex was behind the wheel at an early age. Alex was used to having Blaine as his crew chief but he was not surprised when Blaine asked for the keys.
“One day, I mean, he just went up and asked,” said Alex.
Blaine wanted permission to start racing. Mom was not on board.
“My heart sunk,” said Natalie. “I was scared.”
Blaine’s dad, Casey, went to work figuring out a way to make it work.
“My gears were turning for a long time,” said Casey. “I was just like, we got to get this kid a car to see what happens.”
Casey can talk to Blaine when he is behind the wheel by using a radio. As for his sight, Blaine is considered legally blind but he does have some restricted sight in his left eye.
“I can see pretty much everything,” said Blaine. “I can’t see the fans very well, but I’m not supposed to be really looking.”
Creating smiles by doing what he loves.
“I mean, it’s kind of an adrenaline rush,” said Blaine. “It feels good.”