This week has been a complete whirlwind around the TMR corporate offices, better known as Facebook. We have been busy writing, calling and shouting out from the rooftops to anyone who will listen to call your representatives in Congress and urge them to keep the proverbial autism irons on the fire. Today is the last day that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will take written testimony which will be included in the public record. You still have time to get that in everyone! Read LuvBug’s post here for links and information about how to do this.
The list of people that I can and should thank is extensive. And it has been plastered everywhere already, by people more eloquent than I am. All of the advocates out there that are banging the drum louder than ever have my sincerest gratitude. The parents of children with autism, my friends, who have taken time out of their day to write and call their representatives are my heroes. My TMR family leaves me in awe daily, and I will forever be grateful for each of them.
What I have realized this week is that I have some very important people to thank, and perhaps many of you out there with children with autism do too. I want to thank all of my friends and family who DON’T have kids on the spectrum today. Thank you.
Lately, we have been posting a LOT of information about autism and the congressional hearing. (If you missed the hearing you can watch it here.) We have been asking for action and making every effort to plant the seed that autism is a medical condition. There are environmental factors that cause our kids to regress, and vaccines play a very big role in that regression. We saw during the hearing that Congress is beginning to listen to us. Dots are being connected and they are starting to awaken to the reality that the rise in autism is most assuredly not better diagnosis or genetic. I was there. I heard the anger coming from the panel as they asked the CDC and the NIH questions which were then danced around, fumbled or flat-out ignored. I was in that room. Those questions about vaccines and their role in autism causation were validation that, yes, someday change will happen. It was a small victory in a much greater battle that is far from over. That hearing was just the beginning.
Where does the energy to battle Goliath come from? What has given me more strength and courage to fight harder has not been the questions and statements of our representatives, or the battle cry of the other autism parents out there. It hasn’t been the photographs of our children, or even looking into the eyes of my beautiful son. It has been the quiet, steadfast support of the people in my life that do not have kids on the spectrum.
I have received hugs from neighbors with whispers of support. I have had phone calls from old friends who have told me that they get it. I have received messages from people I haven’t seen in years telling me to keep up the fight. Family and friends are sharing our articles. Aunts and uncles are encouraging me with quick notes of love and support. It is these small gestures that make me want to fight harder. They drive me to make sure that things change.
Why? Surely I am in this for my son, right? He is the reason I am out there screaming, no? He is the reason I am in the fight. He has autism, but I do not fight for him; I fight because of him.
We fight for all of you. We fight for the families that don’t have children with autism. We fight for the couple that just found out they are pregnant with their first child. We fight for our neighbors, our old friends, our brothers and sisters, our cousins. We fight not for our children with autism. We know what has happened to them, and one million phone calls to Congress won’t change that reality. But one million phone calls to Congress may change that reality for the next generation.
What I ask of each of you reading this is that you keep your minds open. WIDE OPEN. When you see yet another article pop up in your news feed about the congressional hearing, know that we are working hard for your children, or your grandchildren, or your niece, or your unborn child. When you don’t get a birthday card, or we miss a party, or an email goes unanswered, please know and understand why our time is so limited. Our fight is our gift to you. And to those of you who have offered us your support and love and, more importantly, your actions, WE THANK YOU!
~ Sunshine ☼
For more blogs by Sunshine click here.