On Saturday night I’m putting my bike lights on, squeezing into some Lycra and I’m riding with the old man (a.k.a the support vehicle, unfortunately also in Lycra ) 200km through the night from Hackney Downs to Dunwich beach in time for sunrise.
I love a personal challenge and keeping active. Exercise keeps me sane and gives me time out from the daily demands of family life. As a parent to a child with autism, family life can be particularly demanding at times.
I’m doing this crazy night ride to raise money for the Beccles Family Group run by Aspergers East Anglia. A fortnightly group for families that have children with autism.
The Family Group or as my boys call it ‘Saturday Club’ gives our children a safe, structured environment where they can socialise and participate in activities with support and understanding. It’s a great opportunity for other parents with autistic family members to socialise and share experiences and learn so much more about autism. The support is essential for us parents as well as the children , knowing you’re not alone keeps me sane, and keeps me fighting for a better deal for our kids futures.
There is limited funding to keep this lovely group going, without it there is very little help for parents, particularly when they need it most during the difficult, frustrating stages of diagnosis. Getting my sons diagnosis of autism has been a tremendously emotional journey resulting in a mixture of relief, sadness, anger and frustration which led to feelings of depression, guilt and anxiety. My hopes and dreams for him felt like they’d been shattered to start with. It’s very important to be able to discuss these feelings in an open minded environment like the Family group, as it gives you a greater sense of the reality of autism and understanding of the struggles associated with it.
Any contributions to keep this group running to ensure it will be there for future families in similar situations would be hugely appreciated.