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Tuohy encourages audience to make a difference (with video)

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The woman made famous in the movie "The Blind Side" said what she did isn't spectacular and that many people in her Sept. 28 audience at the University of Minnesota-Morris have better or similar stories.

"We all have the ability to make a difference," Tuohy said.

Tuohy and her husband Sean adopted Michael Oher, a black high school student at the time. The family's story is shared in the Michael Lewis book, "The Blind Side. Evolution of a Game," and the 2009 movie "The Blind Side" which starred Sandra Bullock as Tuohy. Bullock won an academy award for her performance.

Oher, although 6-foot-6-inches and about 300 pounds in high school, was unnoticed by staff and students, Tuohy said. A principal told Tuohy not to get involved with Oher because he wasn't going to succeed anyway.

"This kid was presented to me by someone who was in a position of authority who said he wasn't going to make it," Tuohy said.

"If that kid falls through the cracks can you imagine who gets left behind? The next best teacher? The next best airplane pilot...?" Touhy said.

Tuohy and her family first noticed Oher when he was walking on the sidewalk on the morning of the day before Thanksgiving. The weather was chilly and Oher was dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. The family turned their vehicle around and gave Oher a ride to the express bus stop.

"All we did was turn around and offered him hope, an opportunity, and it changed his life," Tuohy said. And she and her family's lives were changed more than Oher's, Tuohy said.

"We are the ones who benefitted from having Michael in our family," Tuohy said. The family learned about unconditional love and about valuing people correctly."You need to learn to love someone who doesn't look like you," she said.

During a question and answer session after her presentation, Tuohy said her faith is her guiding force but she wants people to emulate something that encourages them to make a difference. "I will love you whether you believe what I do or not," Tuohy said as a general philosophy.

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