Where my heart is.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Before I get into this, I want to preface this post that I have been putting it off for a month now. Why? Well, I guess because I haven't been quite sure how to approach this. Approach my readers with the sensitive topic of Autism and fundraising.

But, with each passing day missing this post...a post on a topic I'm passionate about...this has been haunting me.

Haunting my heart, my mind and my emotions....Haunting me when I'm driving, when I'm getting ready, going to sleep, making coffee...pretty much each second of the day.

Why am I'm so haunted by this...because we're living in an economy where money in most family lives is a void. It's missing. It's just not a good time.

But I'm also haunted with the guilt of knowing I'm turning my back on a commitment I made. The commitment made 15 years ago when I first began my journey with children faced with Autism and that day I was addicted to this disorder.

It was 15 years ago I committed to helping children battling Autism... tackle it, overcome it, and live with it. I believe in children and adults, before their followed by the Autism label. I believe they have a right to every opportunity needed to face this challenge with the tools they need to break it down...to manage it...to overcome it.

It was 15 years ago...when I first heard the word Autism. I had no clue what it was. I was 19, beginning my coursework at the community college and prepping for a BA degree in special education. I clearly remember when the teacher I worked under told me she needed me to assist a 5 year old in her kindergarten class and that she had Autism.

Right then...I thought...Autism...what's that? And that is where it began.

15 years ago, Autism affected 1 in 5,000 children.

Today, Autism affects 1 in 150 children and 1 in 96 boys.

While you may not know anyone with a child affect by Autism. You will. With those numbers, you will. And I don't mean to scare you but it's the truth. This disorder is growing exponentially. With numbers rising in the masses.

It seems as though each week, I talk with a friend and hear stories of another family they know receiving this diagnosis. And THEN... then I get angry.

I get angry because I wonder when it's going to stop. When is this rapidly growing disorder going to stop breaking into our families lives. When is it going to stop. When are we going to find the cause. When can we have answers. When can the parents of children affected by Autism have answers. WHEN? WHEN?

So when my angry mind starts spinning in crazy directions, I realize...realize what I'm passionate about. I'm passionate about raising awareness for this disorder. I'm passionate about funding research in finding the cause and refining treatments.

I'm passionate about finding a cure.

While I am always happy to talk statistics, I'm going to spare you on this. Because, honestly, we all know the statistics, the symptoms, the "questioned" cause and what families will be faced with through diets and therapies. All this fills the internet and our television.

But what I'm going to do is ask...ask you to take a minute and think about where you be if it were your children receiving this diagnosis, or when will this disorder will affect your family, or how your sister would plead for you to help her in finding the cause for this disorder...for her child. Because with the numbers above...I don't mean to be pushy... but you will be affected by it eventually. Maybe not directly but through family relationships and friendships.

I apologize for this post being so "in your face" but this post is all me and all heart. Because this is where my heart is. My heart is with children.

I'll also be honest, I see my son now at 10 months old and I wonder. I wonder what the future holds for him. For me, I've chosen a proactive road for him in terms of addressing vaccinations. While I am vaccinating my son, I have chosen the alternate vaccination schedule. Much to my doctor's dismay, it is this path I am comfortable with. And that topic is for another post.

But for now. I ask you to please consider helping me raise funds for Autism Speaks. To raise money to help their funding in finding the cause, prevention and treatment for Autism.

If you would love to join me in this effort, please click HERE to donate.

While I've participated in this fundraising for the past two years and this year I chosen to team up with Melissa Jill in her efforts to raise awareness in the name of her sister who has two children, diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

And, if you're wondering what happened to the little 5 year old girl who started this passionate journey for me. You've seen her several times on my blog. Meet Miss L...15 years later we're still together. We're as close as we've always been. And, I'm proud that she is now an active part in my children's lives. That they know her as who she is and they love every inch of her. And more importantly, they bring out the best in her. She is real with them...and only them. It makes me wonder, why she only lets us see so little of her and my girls get to see all of her.

But I'm good with that.

I'm thankful that I have her in my life. And I think back to when she was 5...with her covering her eyes and then ears when I just wouldn't leave her alone. Back when I knew nothing about Autism and I was probably driving her crazy as I worked with her without an ounce of education on Autism. And now, I can't imagine life without her.

Thank you. I want to thank each of you for reading this post on a topic I get very passionate about. If all you do at this point is click from my blog, I'm happy with that. Happy because I shared my story on how Autism as impacted my life with one more person.

And I'm good with that.


Anonymous said...

Beautifully said!!!!!!!!!!! LYG, N

SloneFamily said...

Way to be Tami! I am with ya... anytime I think about going back to work, I always think to call the first little Man who came into my life, Joey {His Mom} to see if she needs any help. No person has made more of a difference in my life than him-- I look at things differently, I judge the "wild kids" no more, I sympathize with all of the parents who juggle this on a daily basis.

It breaks my heart that I don't have extra money to donate. But this is a cause I do hold dear to my heart and when the time is right I will be giving back :)