Learning the art of squeezing blood from a turnip

By |August 2nd, 2012|Autism, Life, Parenting|3 Comments|

A few years ago, in our life before autism, we had some friends whose son was diagnosed. They started an “in home program” that the mom ran like a business. She hired instructors, planned schedules, wrote paychecks, etc. We listened with compassion as our friends described this intense program and told us that their wealthy parents would fund the program and how blessed they felt that they had that kind of help. Chris and I literally had the conversation “What do normal people do if they have a child with autism? There’s no way we could afford 30k a year for that kind of program!”

Fast forward a couple years and we found ourselves in that exact situation. Crazy. The first year wasn’t horrible financially because we had our “emergency savings”. So, although it was scary and a little tight it was nothing compared to this last year. Two years of financially supporting a child with autism pushed us to the limit of not only our finances but our sanity as well.

About October of last year after attending The Bridge Concert with Chris http://www.mycrazylifeunplugged.com/the-bridge-concert/, I knew if we wanted to keep Bridger in evidence-based autism treatment we were going to have to get creative. I told Chris I wanted to have a benefit concert of our own. I knew it was a crazy idea and I’m pretty sure from his hesitant response that he agreed. Ha! But as usual, he rolled with it…

We talked to a longtime friend, we call him Smith, that Chris went to high school with. He had been playing with a band called The Lower Lights. He gave us a contact person and the rest is history…it didn’t come together easily but step by step it did eventually come together. There were issues with scheduling and other things and let’s be honest, I had no idea what I was doing! A couple of my friends came through for me, helping me every step of the way. It may be of interest to note that one of the friends was the one whose parents funded their son’s treatment. She paid it forward, to say the least…

I had no idea what to expect. I just knew that I would do anything and everything to get Bridger the help he needs, including ask people for money, our biggest nightmare! So, in the midst of advocating at the State Capitol, having a news story filmed on our struggles, getting Bridger to treatment and taking care of our other 3 children somehow, some way, we pulled together a benefit concert that was successful beyond our WILDEST imagination! I felt that if we raised enough money for one month of treatment it would be worth it. Friends, family and friends of friends and family gave generously and funded 4 months of treatment for Bridger. In March when we were out of money and contemplating pulling Bridger out of treatment we received enough money to pay his tuition for March through June and still be able to feed our family…a tender mercy from God through many kind people…

Feeling blessed is an understatement. The Lower Lights http://thelowerlights.bandcamp.com/  were so kind and gracious! They were amazing and it was a fun night! We saw people that we hadn’t seen in years. I wish there would have been time for me to talk with everyone that was there and to thank them personally. I sent out thank you notes but it didn’t feel like enough and to all those who quietly put tens, twenties, and even hundred dollar bills in the donation box. Bless you. Bless you. Bless you. There are no words…

“Oh I believe there are angels among us. Sent down to us from somewhere up above. They come to you and me in our darkest hours. To show us how to live, to teach us how to give. To guide us with the light of love.”–Alabama