Cue the fireworks and strike up the band! As of this Wednesday, I reached my goal for the 2012 Jacksonville Walk for Autism Speaks. Or perhaps I should say that we reached our goal for the walk. Each and every one of you who donated helped get me closer to the $1500.00 mark—and closer to blue hair. Thank you all so very much!
I can’t tell you how moving it was each time I received notification that another one of you made a donation on our family’s behalf. When I began this thing back in March, I imagined I would see the numbers rack up over time with a dispassionate acknowledgement of my friends’ generosity.
Sure, I’d be grateful and all that. But I wasn’t expecting to be as affected as I turned out being. Each time another name was added to the list, I would think of that person and all that he or she has meant to me or Katie over the years. It would feel as if that person were right there with me, assuring me that we weren’t alone in this. And that has made a very big difference. Now, when I walk on September 29, I’ll be taking each of these people with me in my heart, thanking them for their concern and praying that God will shower them with his blessings.
A Few Moving Surprises.
Something else that surprised me was the great variety of people who donated. One pledge came in from a priest in Noblesville, Indiana whom I haven’t seen in decades. We knew each other when I was in College at Mount St. Mary’s and he was a seminarian there, but haven’t seen each other since our days at the Mount in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Another came from a co-worker at The Word Among Us whom I have met only once or twice, but who has never met Katie or my kids. Still, she wanted to help. And a third came from a cousin up in Pennsylvania whom I don’t think I’ve seen since I was in my twenties.
Of course, the people you would expect to give showed up—the family members and close friends who see you regularly. But to hear from people like those I mentioned above—that’s just amazing.
So now I’m off to get some blue dye and a puzzle-piece template. But I’m not done yet. There are still four weeks to go until the walk. There’s still time to give, if you’ve been putting it off. Don’t let the fact that I’ve reached my goal stop you. In fact, I’m thinking (not sure yet) of upping the ante and promising to dye my whole head blue if I get to $2,000.00. Now wouldn’t that be a hoot?
One Small Step.
It’s a great feeling to know I’ve reached my goal. But that’s just small potatoes. The medical and scientific community is still a long way off from reaching its goal. We still know so little about the causes of autism spectrum disorders. We still know so little about how to help those afflicted with ASD. And we surely have a verrrrry long way to go in raising awareness about this little-known but rapidly-growing disorder.
Too many kids are being bullied and written off in schools all around the country. Too many adults are unemployed or underemployed because people can’t see all they have to offer. Too many pediatricians don’t know ASD when it’s staring them right in the face. Too many parents are told there’s no hope . . . when there is tons of it.
So I reached my goal. So I’m going to walk. But that’s just one small step. The whole ASD community has a very long road to walk. I am so grateful to each of you who have made this one step possible. Still, I can’t help but keep appealing to everyone else to help us get a little bit farther. Just click on this link, and help us out. Thanks to all of you!