Over the past six weeks, Rachel Dannemiller has been sharing her story about how she and her husband Tom discovered that their son Jason had autism, and about the tools and support they need to give him the best possible care. It was a real pleasure to meet Rachel and Tom back in February and to hear their story in person. Both of them have taken what some would consider one of life’s disappointing moments, and turned them into moments of joy that give them the opportunity to love and serve those in their community.
Sometimes life has different plans for us, and it is always inspiring to me to see a couple like Tom and Rachel whole-heartedly embrace the opportunity. They have become leaders in this area, serving others, and they are effectively making more people aware of autism. Saturday’s event, with its public display of blue ribbons and lights on the square in Burton, is testimony to their hard work and dedication to this great cause. Thanks to them, I now know so much more about the resources that are available right here in our county, and I understand more about what it might be like if I had autism.
Even though Saturday was colder than it has been in the past few weeks, there was a large group of people who joined us at Century Village in Burton for the balloon launch. Each child with autism was given a balloon with their name on it for the launch, and at about 3:30 a proclamation from Mayor Fischbach of Burton was read by Chief Smigelski.
In a previous article, several suggestions were made on how you can participate in the event that are worth repeating here:
- Simply change your outside white light to BLUE. Home Depot is a sponsor and will be selling BLUE bulbs mid March.
- Wear a puzzle piece pin; you can tell people about autism if they ask.
- Wear BLUE clothing; ask your friends and co-workers to wear BLUE too.
- Light it up Blue and WAAD (World Autism Awareness Day) T-shirts and pins are available on www.lightitupblue.org
- Change your Facebook profile picture to the Light it up Blue logo.
Schools can participate as well. Educate and empower students regarding World Autism Awareness Day. What a great way to provide students the opportunity to learn about autism and to take a role in changing the future. Participation packets with wonderful ideas for ALL to be involved, from restaurants, the media, buildings, retailers, families, and individuals can be found HERE.
Thank you again to Nick Fishbach, Mayor of Burton, along with the Burton Chamber of Commerce, and Century Village for your help with the balloon launch and for helping us make more people aware.