Monday, November 14, 2011

DFW Autism Speaks Walk

(By the way, I am "cheating" - I am writing this on New Year's Eve, so I fear my details may be a bit sketchy. I am WAY behind on blogging - figure I ought to catch up before 2012 arrives!)

On November 12, we participated in the DFW-area's Walk Now for Autism Speaks. I believe I've mentioned Autism Speaks before - they are an amazing non-profit organization that raises money for autism research, generates awareness, and provides support for families affected by autism spectrum disorders. I started subscribing to their daily emails back in March or April, and they have provided so many lifelines to us through the year as we've learned more about autism and ways to help our Luke. When those emails started to mention the walks taking place across the country, I decided to join a group from Luke's school that was walking and start some fundraising. I hoped to raise maybe $300 or so, but my friends and family blew me away with their generosity. By the time walk day arrived, Luke's team had raised $1,100 - WOW! I got to be recognized as a member of the Grand Club - I think I was one of just 40 or so people in the Metroplex that raised that much money. WOW! I could not have done it without the generosity of so many of YOU - thank you very much!

Though many donated, only a few of us braved the wind for the big walk: Jeremy, Luke, and I; Johnny, Jackie, and JD; and Honey and Grand. The place was PACKED, so we never really were able to get a group picture. Here are some attempts:

Sweet little J.D. all bundled up - isn't he adorable? (I also love how completely emotion-less his face gets in crowds and unfamiliar situations. He's so like, "Wait a minute. Where am I? Gotta be cool...")

Speaking of J.D., his mommy wrote a beautiful entry on her blog about the walk, which you can check out here. Her post is so sweet and so complimentary of our Luke - how hard he works, how special he is, how profoundly we've all changed from having him in our lives. She also commented on how astonishing it was how many people were at the walk - just how many people are touched by autism. An event like this one reiterated to me that no matter how overwhelming autism can be, we are so clearly not alone. That thought provides simultaneous comfort and utter discouragement. I guess at the end of the day, I'm more encouraged than defeated, but it also makes the work that Autism Speaks does so much more important. One of the signs on the drive into the park where the walk was held said that a child is diagnosed with autism every twenty minutes. It's a jaw-dropping figure. But if we've learned anything in the past year, it's that there are countless wonderful people in the world committed to making it the best place possible for our kids, and even though there are times you want to cry, scream, or both, you just find someone you love, hold hands, and keep moving forward.

Thanks again to everyone who donated, and for my family who walked (and I'm pretty sure they, thanks to the wind, began allergy-related agony that still persists today). It was a wonderful day and a great reminder of how loved and supported we Robertses are!

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