Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lit it up Blue!

April was Autism Awareness month, however for our family every day, every month, every week, every year is Autism Awareness. Each day we learn something new and as crazy as it might seem I enjoy having this learning experience. This month has been a whirlwind of events and honestly I haven't felt this much emotion towards anything like this in a long time. 

April brought so many different things most of them on the highlight list of most amazing. So many things fell into place and came to fruition it was almost like it was a dream.  Our month started off with making sure our outside had plenty of blue light for the month. I think it looked great. We had lots of people at first drive slower down our cul de sac to see our blue light. I am hoping that by the end of the day they realized what that blue light outside our house meant. We made our own shirts that were tie dyed blue with puzzle pieces and Light it up Blue 2013 on them. I think they came out pretty awesome. 

This month we also applied for a grant through the Joseph Thomas Foundation. This grant would help us get supplied and items that we otherwise would not be able to afford for H. We received enough money to get him 3 different vests, one was a neoprene pressure vest ( this one will be worn more in the cooler months, a weighted neoprene vest and a mesh compression vest. 6 chew tubes, a z vibe oral stimulation kit, and a trampoline. Along with that we also get 6 months of his therapeutic  riding covered through The Legacy Complex and a generous friend of a friend donated a month of therapeutic riding along with a helmet for him to wear. It was like Christmas in this house!

Since the walk was this month we of course wanted to have some great shirts to wear as a team. I decided that for every shirt sold a portion of it would go towards our team goal of 1,000.00. I know we ended up selling 53 shirts and raised around 200.00 towards our team goal. Even with the small hiccups with the shirts they all looked amazing and everyone seemed pleased with them. I also had us do another fundraiser which I was nervous about because I really had never done them before. Black Box Pizza on base donated a dollar from each pizza sold on the 15th of April towards our team. We raised 100.00 that day! 

April 5th I was told I was Category IV Civilian of the Quarter for the Force Support Squadron. I also took the Mission Support Group award and would go on at the end of the month for the Bomb Wing Award. I was blown away. I was told it was because of my outstanding commitment to my community, being a full time student on the Dean's List, and my hard work at the CDC. I told them I do all this because it is my passion not to be recognized for an award. On April 22nd I was given a MSG coin and was thanked again for all my hard work and on the 25th I went on to receive the Bomb Wing award for Civilian of the Quarter. I will now be in the running for Civilian of the Year. Pretty exciting stuff. 

As the day of the walk fast approached I really did become a ball of emotions. I was about to be apart of something big and powerful. We were a team of 50 walkers. Only a few ended up not being able to join us and a few supported us from out of state. I had no idea just how big we would become but to see so many rally around us and support H was just breath taking. Three of my college professors saw just how many stood there to walk with us and they were in awe. People from around the community whom I am friends with stopped to tell me what a great team I had and how impressed they were with exceeding our goal. For our first year this is really a big deal to me. Not that this was a contest by any means but validation that I am doing my part to make a difference in the families and children effect each day by ASD. 

So now here we sit as we wrap up a month of April and Autism Awareness. While I don't expect my friends and family to feel that Autism Awareness is a 24/7 365 event I do know they know my passion and my drive for it now. I really don't want to take our blue lights down or stop wearing our Light it up Blue shirts. I wear them and feel that maybe some way some how it is making a small difference. I will change my profile picture back to a wonderful photo of my children but know that this time next year I will replace it with my awareness photo for the month of April. It is tradition now. 

So now we have until October to do just as well as I did here in April for our walk. We have chosen to walk at Texas Motor Speedway at the DFW Walk now for Autism Speaks event. Even if it is just me and my family I will know that it is still good enough and still making an impact. However I am a bit of a competitor and know I will want to some how beat my goal that I had here in Abilene. I am not sure that I will be I won't ever know if I don't try. 

So now we kick off the end of the school year and prepare for the things to come in for H in the fall for school. Sean will continue with MiM's or Meet in the Middle, a program for NT children to help their peers who have developmental delays and participate in events such as Special Olympics. I am so proud of him for being a part of something like this. I realize now he knows what a passion I have for this and he wants to do his part. What a way to make his family proud. 

Sorry for a long winded blog. It's been a while and I felt the need to sum up our month of events. It was really a month I will truly miss and look forward to encountering again next year.