I feel hope every year at the Greater Hartford Walk Now for Autism Speaks.
I feel hope when my son tells me he is “proud he has autism.” I feel hope when his brothers say they had fun at the Walk for the first time.
At this year’s Walk, hope warmed me every time I personally met a mother I’ve spoken to after her child was diagnosed and she said, “Thank you.” Hope fed my tired spirit when my son’s friend and his entire family joined our Walk team. Hope inspired me, as 8,500 people lined up to walk for their sons, daughters, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends, and neighbors. Hope brought me to my knees as I watched families simply “be” with autism, not afraid of judgment or criticism. And hope brought me to tears as I gathered our legislative champions who I have worked so hard to get to join in the fight for our loved ones.
In 2009, Connecticut became the 13th state in the nation to require private insurers to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism. Enactment of this bill finally ended autism insurance discrimination in Connecticut, but more importantly it brought hope to thousands of families.
Autism is now a buzz word in our state capitol of Hartford. Legislators are taking note of its impact on their constituents. We have champions who know our struggles, even know our kids’ names.
There is so much more to do to help the nation’s families affected by autism, so much more to do in Congress and in our state capitols. With hope in our hearts, we can and will prevail.
Hope is why I walk and it’s also why I advocate. Hope will be why I walk and advocate, until there is nothing to left to walk and advocate for.
Christopher Reeve said, “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”
I choose hope.
To learn more about Autism Votes, take action today on autism insurance reform legislation in your state, or find out about Autism Speaks’ federal legislative advocacy agenda, please visitwww.autismvotes.org