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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Autism Coverage Petition in Michigan

Please print out and sign a copy of this petition and return it to Representative Kathy Angerer's office at the address on the bottom. Please pass this link on to all of your friends, family members, therapists, teachers, and anyone else in the community who believes that this needs to be done now! Thank you for taking just a few moments of your time to make a difference.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How can you raise awareness and support Autism?

So many people have asked me, how can I make a difference and create awareness for Autism. Simply put, by talking about it, blogging, inviting others to join our facebook group (I Love Someone with Autism) and wearing our "I Love Someone with Autism" t-shirt. If you don't have one, we are selling them for only $10 (proceeds go to Autism charities) online at

I'd like to share a quick story from one of our group members on how wearing a "I Love Someone with Autism" shirt makes a difference:

Jennifer was heading to a local restaurant, busy and occupied with her own life, however she was wearing her "I Love Someone with Autism" t-shirt not thinking anything of it. The young woman at the restaurant took her order and then read her shirt. After doing so, tears started rolling down her face because little did Jennifer know, this young woman had learned that her 3-year old son had just been diagnosed with Autism and she was scared. The young woman found comfort in knowing that she was not alone.

Autism makes this world an even smaller place. So many people are affected. Won't you show your support and love and purchase a t-shirt so together we can make a difference?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And the battle continues...

Interesting article that shows the commitment of Detroit based DTE Energy to work with the government to provide benefits for workers with children with Autism. Without a change in state law, workers with autistic children will have to take time off work and pay out-of-pocket for care that can cost nearly $50,000 annually. It's sad because Michigan is losing specialists that treat children with Autism because they are getting paid for their services in other states. What are your thoughts on this?

It makes me extremely frustrated that parents who have fought for their child in life now have to fight for their healthcare among other things. For a condition that affects 35 million people world-wide, why is insurance coverage such a battle?
From The Detroit News:

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Autism Love on June 26

Hunt Sampey Foundation with help of Melissa Hunt-Sampey and Nicole Spears are pleased to present "Autism Love", a fundraising event that will raise funds for local Autism related charities on Saturday, June 26 at Mixx Lounge in Novi from 3 - 9 p.m.
Autism Love will include; music by world famous DJ Godfather, photo booth by Mobile Exposures, strolling
hors d'oeuvres, vendor booths, raffle prize drawings, all in a light hearted, fun environment. We are pleased to have Actress and Model Tiffany Stone and Channel 95.5 Stick joins us at the event.
Thank you to our event sponsors: Mixx Lounge, Rocket Painting by Damian, Six Star Custom and Mobile Exposures.
$5 donation at the door. Event proceeds will benefit the following Autism charities: St. Louis Center, home for the developmentally disabled, Judson Center, EMU Autism Collaborative Center and Autism Speaks.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My letter to my Mom and Dad

As you might know, I am writing a book about my life growing up with a brother who has Autism. Many parents approach me and ask, “What is your relationship like with your parents now?” To answer your question, I am openly sharing this letter to my parents, who have given me so much, yet, have felt so guilty for the sacrifices they have made for my brother. I hope this helps you understand how much they truly mean to me.

To my wonderful Mom and Dad,

I have never gotten the opportunity to tell you how much you mean to me not only as my parents but, as my friends too. Until recently I have been a bit jealous of the time that you spent caring and catering to Brian. I have always understood and I think that this makes me a strong and well-rounded person for dealing with hurdles that our family has had to overcome.

Through my eyes, your life experiences in raising Brian have made you both strong and admirable people. I know that God has a special place in heaven for you because of this challenge you have mastered in raising an Autistic son.
Like many parents of children of disabilities, you were never given a manual or rule book when Brian was born to defer to with all of our unanswered questions- which made it a roller coaster ride for not only the both of you but our family. You went with your gut instincts and you made the decisions that were best for Brian and our family. I truly applaud you for this and admire the sacrifices you made to give us the best life you could consider all issues that were dealt in your court.

Until I gave birth to my son Gavin, I didn’t realize how much pride and joy a child brings you. I couldn’t have imagine what you went through when you found out that Brian had to be taken away from you for extensive testing right after his birth. The first few years of Brian’s life I’m sure were probably one of the most difficult times in your life and I know that you both might have blamed yourselves and thought that you have done something wrong to make Brian the way that he is but, again, I think that it’s God’s way for picking two of the best people to raise and handle such a child. You both have far exceeded the norm and prototype for parents and continue to care for a grown man who needs constant supervisor just like a young child would.

You have rarely put yourself first in your lives and you had to deal with pain and disappointment for many years while Brian was growing up. On top of all of this I never once heard either of you complain, you just did what you had to do to make life easy on Brian and I. I hope that my book will be a therapeutic intervention for you and that I share our families story well. There might be moments of joy and then of tears but, I hope that you read this and know that you done all things right.

Thank you again for being my biggest fans in my life and encouraging me to purse my dreams. You have always said that the sky is the limit and I can’t do ANYTHING if I put my mind to it. Writing this book has always been a dream of mine and I feel so blessed to have you in my court cheering me on as I accomplish my wildest dream. It gives me great joy to share these moments with others because our family has always been about helping others out whenever possible.

Thanks again for being my inspiration, allowing me to learn from my mistakes and teaching me about the power of being of kind person. I have always stood up for what is right because I have watched both of you fight to advance the care given to children who are developmentally disabled. A shining example was when you both fought and lobbied with a group of parents to keep Burger School for Students with Autism open, when former Michigan Governor John Engler and the Michigan School Board wanted to close it down in the early 1990’s. You knew that this school was going to change the lives of thousands of families and students over the years and stopped at nothing to keep the school open.

In closing, I’d like to apologize for anything that I might have done to make your life more difficult while raising Brian. I have always tried hard to make you proud and knowing that I will be the only child that will bring you large accomplishments I aimed to please you both and hopefully you are pleased. Much love and I can’t thank you enough for being the best of parents. Love you both!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Personal Stories

I think that Jessica Andrew’s song, “Who I am” really sums up how I interpret life. I am a spitting image of my Dad and my mother is certainly my biggest fan, I live life for me and my family, not caring about the little things in life that may stress others out and I have friends that I love and adore and that support all of my endeavors.

In the process of writing my book, I talked to many family and friends about how Brian impacted their lives. For a sister growing up with a brother that is hyper, loud and notably unique I always found myself making excuses for him for the reason why he acted out of the norm. Looking back now, I can’t believe how ignorant that was of me. Brian is special and his legacy has influenced many people and left everlasting footprints in their hearts.

Mine and Brian’s Grandma Hunt loved us both very much and prior to her death on December 21, 1991 my Grandma Hunt wrote a short letter to my brother that I’d like to share with you:

March 15, 1988- My sweet Brian, Grandma wants you to know how precious you are to me and I love you with all of my heart. You were our 4th grandchild and the 2nd grandson, and we were so happy that day you were born. You are such a cute little blonde-headed boy and we know you are going to grow up into such a good looking young man. I hope to see that happen but, if not, I’ll be looking down on your smiling face from heaven. Papa and I are so proud of you and we know you will do well in the schooling that is planned for you in the near future. You will always be a good, sweet natured boy, I’m sure and I’ll always be in your heart. Be a good boy and always listen to your parents. They love you very much!

With much love always,
Grandma and Papa Hunt

(This letter was written just 8 days after my grandma found out that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.)

With Grandparents being so deeply involved with their grandchildren these days I thought it was very fitting to share this note with you. My grandma Hunt loved my brother so much and I know that she is looking down from Heaven and would be so proud of the man he has become.

PHOTO: My brother Brian and our Grandpa Hunt, taken 2/08

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Autism Conference

I got to attend a wonderful Autism conference today with Drs. Temple Grandin and Nick Dubin. I very much appreciate that wonderful words that someone with Autism shares. Please see the video clip via Fox 2 Detroit News that talks about the conference presented by Detroit based Metro Parent Magazine and Henry Ford Health System.