Monday, September 20, 2010
We did it... and it was a success. I could not be anymore happier, amazed, and inspired about the turn out and the way the night went. All day my in laws, close friends and family were working away..finishing up all the decor and all the fine tuning. We worked so hard that day to make everything perfect for 7pm, we were hoping and praying everything was going to go smooth..of course it didn't .. there were bumps throughout the night, but all in all - we were blessed.
We were fortunate enough to have our close friends and family help throughout the night, they ran the door, they ran games, the cooked, they cleaned - blessed by them is the word I have chosen. Like clockwork, by 7pm - the crowd starting rolling in. We immediately had a line up that lasted almost the entire night, it was amazing. We saw people we haven't seen in years, people we see daily, and people who came that put their own family issues aside to be with us for our issues. Everyone enjoyed our Autism Inspired games (stacking, flappin, puzzles, and of course, the famous dart game ran by Vic and Brad!)
We also had a fun toonie toss, with lots of laughs! What I loved about it as well, we had so much information about Autism - I was worried people were going to come and still not really understand the trials and tribulations that Owen goes through daily with a neurological disorder. I think we did a great job keeping everything fun, bright - but also, informative :)
Now, I want to take sometime, and tell you about the "Inspiring Moments" throughout the evening, that I was so lucky to have been apart of or witness.
- Camille and James Snelgrove. This wonderful married couple, are the foundation of Owen's therapy - Brick by Brick. They arrived shortly after 7pm, and stayed all night. I was able to introduce them to several close people in our family, and brought many of them to tears. I sincerely can not thank them enough for what they provide my son, and continue to show me and shock me of what my son can do. Camille also made a beautiful donation of 2 assessments for a child, that fortunately, my good friend Kelli won, who has a 4 year old son diagnosed this year as well, Ryan.
- The Couple from the paper. I have no idea what their names are, and looking back, I wish I got their names to keep in touch. They do not know Ryan or I, or anyone in our family from anything, they came to Owens Fundraiser because they have 3 nephews who suffer from Autism, and they wanted to support Owen. The man said, :I don't want to donate to cancer or anything like that anymore, because I know only 1% of my money is actually going to the person. Tonight, 100% of our money is going to Owen". Can you imagine? I was a mess listening to the couple speak, and so fortunate that they came to help our son. Then the woman said to me, "the mother, she never took NO as an answer. She always knew her son would be amazing, the schools told her he would be nothing, and she never listened to them, and now.. the boy drives, went to college.. he has a life." I told them - a real life success story is what I needed to hear, and many many tears were shed by the 3 of us.
-Ryans grandpa. Ryans grandpa turned the big 70 this year! So, some people in the family put money together, and we wanted to send grandpa to Vegas (he LOVES Vegas!) Saturday night at the Fundraiser, grandpa gave a large donation to Owen and said he was not wanting to go to Vegas. I was a wreck, he is the most selfless man, just amazing, we love him so much. Unexpected and so grateful Grandpa! :)
-Dave and Cheryls close friends Ray and Sylvie. Ray and Sylvie right now, have their own family concerns with their son, and we were thinking about them constantly. Never in the million years did we think they would come, but Ray and his daughter did. We were so shocked and so emotional he would come and be there for our child, let alone have his own going through issues as well. They are amazing, and such caring people - thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
-My Girls. They are such a huge part of my life. They have been my rock, my strength, my comedy, and my shoulders. They have been with me on countless days and nights, in person and on the phone, anytime I have needed them they have been there. They have had my back, and my families back since day 1, regarding Owen or not, but this has really brought the best out of them. They are constantly in my corner, saying the right thing, and backing, me, Ryan and our family with anything. They worked their asses' off on Saturday, and continue to work their asses' off being advocates for Owen. They put me in tears at this Fundraiser, they honoured me as a mother, and that is something I will always remember. I have to say, it was one of the best feelings to have the girls I love so much love me back. ox
-My husband. Where would I even start to begin? He works and works and works, and makes sure that we are able to provide for our children, and right now, especially Owen. He always tells me, if he had to, he would take a 3rd job just to keep Owen in therapy, thank God this does not have to do that for us. He is Owens biggest fan, and would crawl to the end of this earth for him, Maddie and Ben. He honestly shows me daily what it is like to have a positive, loving, amazing father figure to my children. At the Fundraiser it was no different, Ryan walked around all night with a smile on his face, happy to see our community come together for Owen, and just be a proud dad. I love and appreciate Ryan so much, and glad to have one of the best fathers this world has to offer to my children.
-The Crying Game. So many tears were shed on Saturday. I cried over just pure love for my child, imagine for 400 people in a hall, donating their money, time, and support all for your child. I cried when my girlfriends thanked me and my mother in law Cheryl, I cried when anyone spoke about Owen. I cried when Victorias dad played the bagpipes before dinner, I cried when I spoke to people who made very generous donations, and I cried when I read Owens beautiful poster that everyone signed. Don't think I am too big of a sap - Cheryl cried just as much. :)
-The Breakers. This is Dave's hockey team. No word of a lie, several people on Dave's hockey team, after reading an email about our event for, "one of their own", donated amazing prizes to our family, and for one, I was lucky enough to meet him. We were at the hall Saturday, getting ready for everything, and one of Dave's friends from hockey came. He had a beautiful printer in his hands - and he was donating it to Owens Fundraiser. I don't know this man from anything, and he was donating this amazing gift to my son - so I cried... we hugged.. then cried. The out pour of support has been over whelming, and this just shows why.
-Co-workers. Bethesda and NSS. So many of our co-workers know exactly what we are going through when dealing with a child with Autism, and that is why sometimes, it is so easy to talk to them about it, more so then other people. We have had some amazing co-workers become even better friends, they have found donations or even bought donations for this fundraiser, so many I probably can't name all of them. We had food donations like treats from Cramp and Mandy, Lasagna from Shawna and her mother, an entertainment system from Melanie, the Graphic for Owen Carl's Journey from the Geyers, Sabres tickets from Sebben, Rene donated Kung Fu memberships, wine from his mother, Megan and all her donations and Dani and her chocolate basket from her friend, and the list goes on and on. It is truly amazing what people will do for you.. thank you all from the bottom of our hearts, you are all amazing people.
-The In laws. Supportive doesn't even begin. They put all their time, effort and hearts into this fundraiser, and it showed. Cheryl put so much thought in the games to make them all Autism based, all the colours matched, the food was amazing, everything was put in place. They see daily how much we sacrifice for our family, and we wouldn't have it any other way, but Dave and Cheryl knew we needed a break. Their love for our family, and for our son, is unbelievable, and I really can not thank them enough for everything they did for us, and for Owen. Like Dave wrote on Owen's poster - "Opa promised." oxoxox
It was an amazing night, we had so many people - and I have never felt so much love for our little family as I did that night. Thank you to everyone who helped, supported, anything!! If Owen could thank you - I am sure he would have said all of this and more ... and he will one day.