We did it. The hard work, dedication, and perseverance paid off and we held a very successful fundraiser. The journey started way back when, when I wrote about my Union sponsoring our family here, as our 2nd son Ben was going through the process after being diagnosed with having Autism.
2 days after our diagnosis from Dr. Snyder on June 8th, my Union Cupe Local 2977 sponsored a huge Fundraiser for our sons to continue to receive private therapy, as they continue to be on the wait list for government funded therapy, Owen will be waiting hopefully just another 8 months and Ben will have the full wait of 3 years. A committee was made, including a now good friend Jen, Dani, Christina, Robyn, Nicole, Dave, and myself to take the bull by the horns and collect prizes, ask for help, and raise money to get therapy for the boys.
The day prepping was full of things to do, decorating, sign making, bun cutting - I had friends come and help, and appreciated it so much!! The night started at 7pm, we had roughly 200 people attend, play games, participate in activities, eat, buy t-shirts, wear their bracelets, and love my sons - and I felt it, I felt it so much that night. The speeches were being said, there were many tears and much truth being said - and I even thanked my amazing husband (who deep down, loved every part of it)
We made enough from the fundraiser to pay for 9 months of therapy for Benjamin, to give him the same experiences that his brother had - which is wonderful! We didn't have a huge number of people, but what we did have was the people that cared there, and they made up for all the numbers. I was seeing people that I would never expect to be there, and I was so appreciative! Of course there were people that I wish would have decided to attend, but I can't convince them, or I guess make them try and understand what a day in our life is - what a wait list is, what living with behaviours out of the ordinary, appointments constantly - you can not change ignorance, and if you can - not worth my time, or my boys.
I was amazed at the out pour of love, support and compassion of our sons. People that I have no idea who they are before Friday evening, were buying bracelets, they were buying and wearing Owen and Ben t-shirts - I was amazed. People were excited for the prizes we gathered, people loved the food, they watched a video documenting our journey with the boys, they signed their names in love on a poster that is hanging in the boys room - Friday night as I stood in front of the 200 + people and said my speech thanking everyone I could think of - I was in a moment. I was in a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life, I was standing in front of a crowd of supportive people that were crying with me and my words - feeling what I was saying to them, as I was trying my hardest to explain the love and the pain I am going through as a mother.. not to 1, but 2 children who happen to have Autism.
Here are some pictures showing how wonderful the event was, and a special thank you to All Star Sound for donating the music for the entire event, Booth or Dare for the AMAZING photos for the entire night! and Joel Smith our photographer for the past 2 years when Owen was first diagnosed for taking photos, donating amazing prizes to be won, and being a friend.
This was the first of many Cupe 2977 Fundraisers to come, and I hope they will be as successful for many other people and organizations as it was for my children. Thank you everyone :)
ps- I am writing this on Monday June 11, 2012 - The day I finally got to hear Ben say to me, "mama".. and he is 2 years and 3 months old. One of the best moments of my life oxox.