|From Last Year's Walk|
I'm inviting friends and family to participate in Highmark's, "Walk for a Healthy Community" with us again this year. This walk is near and dear to our little Lily, specifically because one of the participating organizations (the organization to which 100% of the proceeds will benefit) is ABOARD (Austim Connection of PA).
Two years ago year around September, when this blog was newer and greener, I broadcast a plea for help to the community at large and asked this question, "To whom should I donate my money if I want it to benefit autistic people and their families and caregivers?" That post is >>HERE<<. If you're getting this message via snail mail, you can't click the >>HERE<<, so stop trying, you're just tearing the paper. If you're getting this message and can click, but won't, I'll summarize it. Anyone who was autistic said, "Don't give money to Autism Speaks". There were a lot of reasons, and most of them were good. The consensus was, "give to someone who can help autistic people locally, or give to food banks or shelters", because the sad fact of life is that many autistic people NOT receiving supports or services ARE the people in the homeless shelters and benefiting from the food banks. I'm paraphrasing the masses (it was not a particularly well-commented blog post of mine, but linking from post to post by others who had covered the topic, that was the message I got). One local autistic adult mentioned ABOARD. They had helped her personally. I had attended a couple workshops they had put together with my wife, and had previously donated to them. They're the folks who put together the Autism Friendly Santa Visit at the mall, (they did one for the Easter Bunny too, but we didn't go).
Since then we've gone to several of their sponsored events...autism-friendly days at an indoor playground, autism-friendly Santa, autism-friendly trips to see the Pirates play, a Gala (in a week), a symposium (in the Spring) and Lily's grandparents have gone to seminars as well. They've become our personal pet Autism Charity. We're forming a team again this year, "Just a Lil Walk", and using Lily as our rallying point. This is a cause that's important to her, or will be some day when she's able to take it up herself.
We'd love for you to join our team and walk with us on Saturday, May 18, 2013, at Stage AE on the North Shore in Pittsburgh, PA. (Registration is at 7:45 a.m., walks start at 9:00 and 9:15 a.m. if last year is any indication). OR...OR...you can sign up as a virtual walker. You don't have to be WITH us...to be with us.
I've created a page on the blog to allow you to sign up for the team. I've also linked an event to the Just a Lil Blog Facebook page. I'm looking for sponsors (essentially if I can get someone to sponsor the team, I can get shirts for the participants, provided I have a head count two weeks before the walk) and I've set a goal of $2,500. Last year we set a goal of $1,000 and easily beat the shit out of it. Sorry...didn't mean to swear. It seems like a lot, but I feel like I want to stretch for it a little and see what we can come up with.
It's really not FOR Lily. Lily has us, and her family, and our friends. She's as blessed to have people who love her as we are to have her in our lives. Not everybody is as lucky as we are. So while it's not for LILY, per se, it's for people like Lily, that don't have the support she has. We've set up a team. We have a goal. Lily and Emma and Leslie and I will be down by the stadium at Stage AE on May 18th to walk. Whether we raise the $50 or $2500 or $10,000, we'll be there, and we'll have fun. And we'd love it if you could join us, or if you can't, if you could donate to the cause.
This year I'm on the ball...setting all this up the first day I could. We have about 3 months to put together what we can sponsor/donation/team-wise so that I can get tshirts made for participants and make sure we get them in time for the walk. (last year we did it five weeks in advance).
Just a Lil Walk Team (Jim, Leslie, Emma and Lily. . . so far)
|Last year's shirt. This year will be different.|