When you’re the parent to a child on the spectrum, it can be hard sometimes to make friends. Juggling our children’s therapy, their special education needs, and their sometimes unpredictable behavior takes up a lot of time. It’s time well spent, but the time we devote to our children can prevent ‘in real life’ friendships from happening.
Still craving the camaraderie of like-minded peers, some autism parents look to online groups for support. Like any relationship, once comfortable in the group, even if it is online, the more the parents share with each other, the closer they get. Despite the miles and regardless of how many time zones these parents are from one another, friendships blossom. That’s how Sylvia and I found each other. It’s how we both learned about Michelle, too.
Michelle is mom to a young man named Brandon. Brandon has severe autism. He also has seizures. Michelle chroniclesthe joys and the very real difficulties she and her family faces with Life with Autism. On her blog, besides being brutally honest, she shares a lot of hope – something that brings a lot of autism parents together. Hope is what drew me to Michelle, and it’s what prompted Sylvia to reach out to me a little over a month ago.
A simple request, Sylvia asked if we could brainstorm a way to lend a hand to Michelle. If there is anyone in our community who we’d both love to help, it’s Michelle. As main caregiver to Brandon, who had just gone through some serious seizure activity, we know her to be one of the bravest, most resilient, honest, giving, holy women in our circle of friends. I said absolutely, let’s do something together. We both thought of a few fun ideas of how to bless Michelle and promised to be in touch soon.
Then Michelle’s husband lost his job.
Once we heard that, we asked Michelle how we could help. Brandon takes supplements – if we really, really wanted to help, could we help the family get those? We said yes. In the meantime, some of Michelle’s other friends got to work. They set up a fundraiser, and within hours, many people in our community pitched in and exceeded the goal. We were overjoyed. Tears streaked down our faces. Raising thousands, we were beyond amazed knowing that that money can help the family with the big bills.
Still wanting to pursue the thought we had before her husband was laid off, Sylvia and I told Michelle we’d take care of providing the supplements Brandon needs.
But then life got in the way.
Sylvia’s family needed her, and my family needed me. But with this month being April, and with how many of us crave autism action instead of just awareness, it’s time to resurrect Project Hope.
Project Hope has a simple goal – help a family in need. If you’re interested in joining us bless Michelle and Brandon, let us know. We know that quite a few people already gave, and we are in awe of how much has already been provided. For those who gave already, join us in praying for the Guppys. Michelle is a praying woman, and we are encouraged by her unwavering faith. For those who would like to send something else, our goal is to help provide 6 month’s worth of supplements. Whatever is collected will go toward directly to covering the cost of Brandon’s supplements. If Michelle’s husband has not secured employment in 6 months time, we’ll renew our efforts.
The friendships that we’ve made online are some of the strongest friendships we know. Let’s use that strength we give to each other one more time for Michelle, for Brandon, and for their family.
With love and always with hope,
Sylvia and Cathy
For those who wish to make a monetary donation, please send me an email for more information.