Welcome- This is Sue's LAST Hurrah!
This is Ed's Mom writing on his behalf. I am Ed's voice in hundreds of ways each and every day. I advocate for him and others affected by autism.
Thirty three years ago we sat in a room and heard the words "Your Child Has Autism." Back then there were few supports available . In 1997 HMEA's Autism Resource Central opened their doors and we were among the first families to register. In 1999 I joined the Center Staff. The Center has been a major source of support for not only my family but for THOUSANDS, yes, thousands of families in Central Massachusetts. In 2000 I suggested that we have a walk for Autism Awareness in Worcester to increase awareness but also to raise funds so we could expand the Center's Mission.
It's that time again, and once again, I am asking for your support.God Willing, I'll be walking for the cause that is near and dear to my heart. The cause which captured my life. This event which began 21 years ago with the hopes of raising $10,000, from the very beginning always exceeded our expectations. Until last year. Covid has taken lives and taken supports from so many who rely on the support the Center gives. This year as we continue to grow the challenge of being the Center of the Autism Community has never been greater.
Covid 19 had a devastating impact on the 20th Autism Super Hero Walk, with less than 1/3 of the goal we set being met. This has meant we've had to cut back and we've lost our Event and Development person. I cut my hours back to 30 hours, and I plan to retire in June. It's been a hellacious year for me, I would love to be able to retire in June with the Center in a position to serve all the needs of our families. I can assure you that every dollar raised will benefit more than 3,800 families in Central Massachusetts who are registered with the Center.
What does your donation do? We provide support, information, referral, family activities & events, educational and therapeutic programs for children with autism as well as siblings, school vacation events, summer camps and community partnerships to area businesses. This year we've had to develop alternative ways of providing these services and now we offer virtual activities through zoom to children and adults.
. The challenges presented to individuals affected by autism change over time with maturity . We've added adult virtual activities to increase social opportunities for adults, support groups for parents who are still supporting their adult children on the spectrum and workshops on housing, relationships and more. While the focus for autism has always been "children" the reality is autism is a life long disability and the supports for adults are few, it's time that changed.
I do this to honor Ed who has been an inspiration as he meets each and every day with a smile despite the significant obstacles his autism imposes on his life. I also do this for his sisters, who will finish this journey with him after I am gone. This disability impacts a whole family and multiple generations in a family. Repeat this by 3,800 families and you begin to see the magnitude of the need for more supports.
I hope that I can count on your support to help us to continue to be a resource to so many families who are challenged every day by autism to help their children reach their potential and thrive and and individuals who continue to need support to be productive citizens.
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