Friday, October 15, 2010

Walk Now for Autism

I am so excited because our walk is finally here! Tomorrow is our families first Walk Now for Autism which benefits the Autism Speaks foundation. We are so excited that we finally met our goal of $1000 donated through our team, Gibson's Goonies. I got to chat with the walk coordinator yesterday who let me know that we are members of the Grand Club because we raised over $1000! This means we will get recognized with other teams that have raised $1000 or more and get to join everyone on stage during the ceremony.
I was so excited to FINALLY get a chance to speak with another mom of a child with Autism. It is so refreshing to speak to someone who understands first hand the struggles as well as happy times that all come with having a child on the spectrum.
So last night I was going over my emails and found one from the walk coordinator that I had spoken to earlier. She asked me in the email if I would be willing to speak along with other parents about why I walk, and who I walk for. I am jumping at this chance to let my voice be heard, but I am very nervous. I don't really like public speaking all that much... I am fine in a small group but I am guessing there will be a TON of people there tomorrow, and I will have a mic and everything. Kind of scary and quite frankly as I am typing this my stomach is already doing flip flops. But all in all I don't know if I will have this chance again... so I am going to do it!
The following is the speech that I wrote last night at midnight that I will be reading for all to hear tomorrow during the walk ceremonies.

My name is Callie, and I walk for my son Gibson. At the age of 2 Gibson was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified). We finally had an answer to so many questions. Why was our son of 2 years not talking? Why did any little thing cause a huge meltdown? Why would he not respond when we said his name? And so many more.

Once we found out that Gibson was a part of the ever growing spectrum that is Autism we got to work getting him into therapy. Speech therapy once a week, and behavioral therapy once a month. Now almost a year later Gibson is talking… he has over 250 words in his vocabulary! He copies just about everything you say and has a memory like no one I have ever met before. Of all the words he knows and says “I love you” is the only phrase he doesn’t say. My husband and I know that one day he will say those three words that mean the world to a parent and we will probably both melt down and cry.

Gibson is a kind, loving, on-the-move, silly little boy that brightens my heart every single day. Don’t get me wrong we have hard days… days when I want to fall down and cry and wonder why? But those days are far out-weighed by the good days like when he finally understands something for the first time, that gleam in his eye when he finally figures something out completely brightens my day.

I never dreamed that I would have a child that has Autism, no parent ever really thinks that this will effect them, but it can and it does effect so many families. I hope that through amazing organizations like Autism Speaks that we can fight to make our voices heard. That we can make changes that will not only effect the lives of our children, but also the children of our future. I know that the road ahead is a long one, but through the help of friends and family and a community of other families like ours I know that we will forge ahead without ceasing and that one day things will change.

Mommy and Daddy love you Gibson, and even though you don’t say it we know that you love us too. You have a bright future ahead and even though we know there will be struggles we are right beside you and we will walk this road hand in hand.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us in any way through out this project. I only hope that next year can just be bigger and better for Gibson's Goonies (that's our team name). Think of us as we walk tomorrow in honor of Gibson and every other family, child and adult out there who suffers from Autism.


Elizabeth Herren said...

I can't wait to walk with you guys!! I am so proud of you and your little man! Love you guys!

grancinpapaw said...

Wish we could be there with you guys tomorrow! So proud of everything you have done and continue to do for our sweet little man!!

We love you all!!

Granci & Papaw

Allison Trevino said...

Awesome speech Callie! Have you ever read Jenny McCarthy's book "Louder Than Words?" I just read it and it is powerful. Its about her son and his autism. You might want to check it out. Have fun walking!!