When notification and details about our local 2012 Autism Walk first came out, I got really excited! In keeping with my New Year’s resolution to “do more this year,” I was determined to participate as we hadn’t been able to get it together in the past couple of years and do so. We wanted to participate in this walk as a part of the process of raising awareness for this epidemic disorder, to celebrate our AMAZING kiddo, kick Autism Awareness Month (April) off right, and also raise some cash for our local branch of the Autism Society of America! So, I dove right into planning our part in it. I sent feelers out to see if any of our friends would be interested in walking with us, set up my First Giving page to take donations, and began looking for a company to make team t-shirts. Well……then, the boys joint birthday extravaganza came and went, we had family in town for 3 weeks, and Cannon endured 2 seperate, unexpected hospitalizations with the need for recoupment periods after. And I got behind…… Really behind…..
I had wanted to get the cutest team t-shirts possible, really recruit for our team, and put my heart into fundraising. I had set a goal of $300 and I was no where close with 1 1/2 weeks to go until the walk. That’s when what can only be explained as a very modern miracle happened. And Facebook stepped in to help me out….big time. I sent out a status update with the link to our team’s sign-up page. And a few friends signed up. And then I began posting the link to our fundraising page about every other day. Which is when the generosity, kindness, and beautiful hearts of our friends and family began to blow me away! I was in total shock with how quickly and steadily the money began to pour in! All to benefit our local chapter of the Autism Society of America! I mean we went from $125 with a little over a week to go to pass our $300 goal. Then to 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and $900! When things seemed to stall out at $970, I thought to myself……..”This is an awesome total…..but how great would it be to get to $1,000. What can I do to get us to $1,000?” So, I decided to make a flyer and a bunch of individually packaged baked goods and send them off with my hubby to work. With the hope of making $30. I made pound cake, chocolate chip cookies, butterscotch brownies, and zucchini bread. That fundraiser ended up bringing in $106! I was elated to just be over $1,000. Well, the giving didn’t stop there and our amazing friends and family helped us to an incredible end total of $1,565! A far, far cry from my original goal of $300! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who made this happen and allowed us to make this great donation to the Autism Society! We are humbled, thankful, and truly blessed to call some of the most amazing people on this earth…..OUR friends and family! Love ya’ll!
The day of the walk was an early one. We are not morning people but we made it happen by eating breakfast in the car. The boys were really excited on the drive over about the “special walk.” We arrived and got ourselves and our team registered. We even had a family of friends that all of which…we weren’t expecting to show up! There were 12 of us in total to form “Team Cannon.” We were made up of our family, a few friends and their kids, and even one of Cannon’s therapists. I was amazed to find an online company who I contacted on Monday the week of the walk……..that was able to design, produce, and rush me t-shirts by Friday (www.customink.com)! So, our team was able to represent and look good!
After a former president of the Autism Society sang the national anthem, the run/walk was a go and we were off! Cannon’s therapist decided to run and meet up with us later. With 3 strollers among our group, we quickly assumed our position towards the back of the pack. Which wasn’t so bad because it allowed us to take it slow, enjoy time chatting with each other, and just go at our own pace. There were typical stops for bathroom breaks, snacks, and drinks along those 5 kilometers. I think each child did at least some time walking instead of riding. I even carried Cannon for a short stint as he was still not feeling 100% from his recent hospitalization and just needed a little extra love. It all just made the journey to the finish more interesting and quite comical. If you have kids, you know what I mean! When we crossed the finish line, there were several teams there that cheered for us and called out our team name! Thanks to our awesome t-shirts! 🙂 Enjoy these pics of our walk experience! For some reason, I was never able to get a picture of the entire team together. 🙁
Afterwards, there was a tent set up for a resource fair. So that the parents could visit and get info from all the local organizations that support families like ours. From ABA agencies, to conventional therapy groups, alternative therapies, diet resources, and social services. They were all there to give their shbeel, answer questions, and hand out pamphlets. There were also book tables and Autism awareness merchandise for purchase. But my boys were far more interested in the activities that were available! Mainly the train and jumping castles which are being stated here in order of importance to them. They rode the train far more times than I can count. And when we finally convinced them to try something else…..they made a beeline for those jumping castles. One was a traditional one and the other an obstacle course. The latter, which Cannon insisted on going in backwards upon penalty of meltdown. The boys also played some drums and painted, yes painted, a horse! Here are a few pictures to enjoy from all the fun!
One of the highlights of the day for me was a simple one. Cannon and I approached a table where they had large puzzle pieces made from construction paper available for the kids to draw on. You may or may not know that the puzzle piece is symbol of the Autism disorder. Because it is such a complex and puzzling condition. Cannon was told that he could do anything on the piece that he wished. He melted my heart completely by doing this………
This may not look like much. One word and a sticker. But to me, it is beyond beautiful. And a message for me that is filled with hope. I dissolved into his outstretched arms and loved on him like crazy! Some may think my little boy doesn’t get it. That he can’t bond or communicate. Well, it may look that way on the outside but no one can tell me he didn’t do what he did under that tent at the Autism Walk because he knew how I was going to react. NO ONE! My child is in there! And I will spend the rest of my life and all I have within me……trying to bring that to the surface for ALL to see. Mommy is coming to get you baby! Sweet Cannon, Mommy is coming for you!