Saturday, July 12, 2008

Anything is possible

If you have been reading my blog these past few months you already know Taylor was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)--Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified in November of last year. Was is devastating? Absolutely. Did it practically cripple our little family? Yes. Did it break our hearts into a million pieces? Absolutely. Did it change us forever? YES.

It changed us for the better.

With the help of many unselfish and caring individuals and tons of hard work on Taylor's and our part Taylor has made tremendous gains. I do mean tremendous. In fact I took her back to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh last month and I blatently asked them to remove her diagnosis so it won't follow her around for the rest of her life. We are left with a language delay but we can deal with that. That's nothin' compared to where we started. She will begin private TYPICAL preschool this fall. Keep your fingers crossed.

So, it's my time to give back. I have been thinking all along that I would do something to give back to the autism cause once Taylor got to a point where every bit of my time wasn't consumed with therapies, etc. Recently we began therapeutic horseback riding through an organization called PP TUG--People and Pets Together Under God. It is completely non-profit and ran by a lady I work with at the eye surgery center. All helpers are volunteers. There are 3 volunteers per horse so it takes quite a few people for the 3 classes. The woman who owns the horses/farm volunteers all her time (she washes 6 horses the day of therapy and volunteers during riding). There is a lot of work and money involved in the paperwork, equipment, supplies,etc. The cost of the insurance alone for only 8 weeks of riding is close to $1000. My coworker ran this organization with her husband before he died and since his death has continued on. She is just amazing. The kids receive small trophies at the end of the session and from what I hear they are very proud of these little trophies because for some it's the only trophy they will ever receive. Some of the riders are physically handicapped. Some are mentally disabled and some are both. If a rider is unable to pay one of the volunteers usually picks up their tab. These are some REALLY amazing people. It feels amazing to be surrounded by them each week.

The waiting list is over 5 years long because it is nonprofit. We got in because another rider is out for surgery and my coworker needed someone who would go in with the possibility that they couldn't ride next year. Once a child starts they can stay until the age of 18.

So for the first time in my life I am blatently asking for your monetary donation. I am asking all our friends and family for monetary donations that will go toward equipment, etc. It can be as little as $5 or even less. It is tax deductible and if needed I can forward the tax exempt ID#. I am also checking into fundraising. I have a few other personal ideas too. My goal is to raise enough money to pay for their program next year. Is that a huge goal? Sure, but this past year has taught me that anything is possible.

If you are able to make a contribution it sure would be appreciated. I'll hand deliver it myself with your name attached. If you are financially unable then your kind thoughts for these kids are greatly appreciated. Just take a few seconds and think of them. Just be aware of them and their parents. They work so hard every day. They are truly living miracles.

Michelle Infantino
417 Independence Drive
Washington, PA 15301