This is my beloved Andy, and I'm his Auntie Mel. Andy has cerebral palsey and autism, so he doesn't communicate like other children and has the mentality of perhaps a seven year old. However that's not stopped his love for life and the people around him as you can see by his brilliant smile. Andy knows everyone in his small Eastern Washington town and has a BIG hug for them all!
Andy was Duke of Homecoming, competes in Special Olympics, has a job and just moved in to his own apartment. He has FIVE caregivers that do the same job his Mom did for him and continues to do for the past 25 years.
Andy’s success in life can be directly attributed to his Mom, my Sister, who raised him and two other children and did an amazing job bringing them up! My Sister is employed with Children’s Village in Yakima, Washington, and day to day she works with countless parents who have children with Special Needs. They are all very Special to her: she advocates for them, she comforts them and she pours out her immeasurable compassion on them because she has her own special needs child, Andy, and knows first hand what struggles these parents face daily.
She's raised her children with solid morals and good old fashioned common sense. Mark, Andy's little brother, volunteered so many hours at the local hospital with the Special Needs Children that when he graduated from HighSchool, he was greatly rewarded for his efforts.. He's headed for college where he's entertaining the idea of becoming a teacher! He gave the speech at his high school graduation and got a Standing Ovation from the entire convention center!
Ten years ago, because I felt sad that much of the family focus was on Andy because of his special needs, I wanted to do something for Mark, and opted to secretly spirit him away to Disneyland. I don't have any children of my own, so that vacation with Mark was the Best vacation I've ever had, playing Mom for a week and seeing the ultimate joy that Disneyland brought to him. Andy too would be ecstatic if he were to go to Disneyland, and it will be amazing to see the magic as he meets Mickey in person!
Andy is 25, and he now knows that I took Mark to Disneyland years ago, and of course, he wants to go! When I visit him (he lives 2 hours away) his question to me is always: "Auntie, Me, Disneyland??" He'll pick up Disneyland brochures and say "Auntie~~ Me?" In 2008 I lost the very good paying job I had and haven't quite been able to recover from that. As a single woman, I'm honestly struggling just to make ends meet paycheck to paycheck. I would dearly love to take Andy, Mark and my Sister to Disneyland. I've written to the CEO of Disneyland and he's graciously offered VIP status when we do visit Disneyland. It's getting there that is the issue. It would be such a blessing if this little family, Mom, Andy and brother Mark, could go to Disneyland in September with me as we would all be delighted to see Andy's reaction to the wonderful world of Disney. I would get a GO PRO and record the whole adventure as I think it would make a great documentary. It will be my youthful Milemarker Birthday, and I can't think of a better way to spend it than with this Special Family in a Special Place: Disneyland.
Love this great comment. And Amy wrote: Disneyland would be happy to have ANDY!