This a new section I’m adding to the story…it’s only part of it…wondering if I should put it in or not…comments??
Our first, “Autism Awareness” month was coming upon us. Ryan had been in therapy for almost 10 months and changed remarkably. We felt so blessed to witness this transformation in our boy and felt a sense of obligation to do something to show our support of this disorder and the month set aside for it. I felt compelled to do what my mother always taught me: give back. I didn’t want to just write a check and send it off. I want to have a “hands-on” experience and give myself another outlet to reach out to our community. So, we decided a small benefit to raise money would probably be the best.
Plopped down in our new “lounge Dan I started brainstorming on how to accomplish a benefit. I’d never run one on my own.
First: where would the proceeds go? I had asked Dr. Hunter where she thought donations best be spent and she suggested a research facility in Northern California dedicated solely to studying the brain. I showed Dan the website and he agreed. What better way to make a difference than to find a way to stop the disorder?
We sat for hours and threw out locations, themes, ideas, and people to invite. How would we get the word out? How would we get items for the raffle? What kind of donations? We decided old fashioned word of mouth was going to be our best bet.
“I’ll call the office tomorrow and see if they will let me have the benefit there.” I told Dan as I sat with my clipboard and pages of notes. “I don’t think it will be a problem.” And we called it a night.
How do you sum up a benefit in one page when there is so much to tell?
After many drafts I came up with a one page flyer. Ryan became a central theme–because after all, that’s what this was about. Plus, I felt I had to make it real, about a real person: not just a cause that no one could relate to. Seeing my sweet boy and reading about him being afflicted with this disorder, had to turn some heads…I hoped. I found a great picture of him and fired off numerous copies.
I wasn’t nervous to get out and pound on doors. It’s funny how when you truly believe in something how easy it is to ask for help. My plan was to start at home and hit the whole shopping center.
I breezed into our local coffee house and asked if I could hang up a flyer for the benefit. I happen to get the manager and she looked at the flyer and then at me tenderly.
“Can we make a donation to the event? Like a coffee basket?” she asked.
“Uh…yes…wow, yes, of course.” I said the shock all over my face.
She smiled back. “We can also provide coffee for the night of the event if you like?”
If I like? What?… I stood there trying not to let the tears fall from my welling eyes.
“I don’t know what to say…I was just hoping to hang up the flyer…you have far surpassed my expectations.” And then it was over, tears coming down. I barely mumbled out “Thank You.”
She patted my hand sweetly and said, “Let me get an order form and we’ll get this all written up.”