THIS is What Autism Looks Like turned out way better than I could have ever imagined. And you know what made it so amazing? Our guests. All of them!! It was such an intimate event, everyone got to meet each other. We all made a new friend last night. Our speakers were unbelievable- We would have been nothing without them. Money raised will go to the AAFS program. Check out their link for programs!
Dean, the executive director of AAFS, talked about Shawn Belanger. He's an amazing artist who is on the spectrum. When he first started going to AAFS, they were told he would never have functional writing skills. Well fast forward a few years later, and his work is being sold across the world. Sadly, Shawn could not attend, but Dean did a great job representing Shawn. We had 3 of his pieces up for auction, and the bidding wars were ON! LOL!
Next, we had Anton Gasper speak. He is a young man on the spectrum who has gone to school at Mount Royal University, and then went on to work for the Flames. Still an employee of the organization, Anton works behind the camera, capturing a team he is so loyal to. I had a huge smile on my face the whole time he spoke, my cheeks hurt so bad! He was so brave to speak at the event, and everyone just loved him. He won a lot of hearts last night!
Last, but certainly not least, we had Michael McCreary. Michael is 21, has Aspergers, and is a COMEDIAN. Unreal!! We were all in stitches!! If you ever have an opportunity to see him live, please do. He is amazing. Again, so brave. I find it hard to speak in front of a crowd, I have so much admiration for how well they did in this setting.
We had Elliotte Friedman fly in from Toronto. He is very passionate about anything Autism (and hockey, so you know we hit it off with him). He was an amazing guest. He was so friendly, took pictures with everyone. I was impressed with what a stand up guy he is. He is someone I hope to work with again!
Never let anyone put limits on your child. They're all capable of SO much with the right love and confidence! These guys are all thriving from the environment they were exposed to. Their success speaks for itself.
I can not say enough nice things about the Beltliner, the real hosts. They catered to all our needs throughout this whole process. Meetings leading up to the event held there, anything we (Shelley, Dean and I) needed, just ask and we received. Plus their food is the best!! Everyone left full and so happy. I would definitely do another event there. They made it easy and stress free. Thank you for that :)
Thank you to all our amazing sponsors, Investors Group, Sandhill Winery for all the delicious wine, Calgary Show Services, Westjet, ArticTherm, Shawn Belanger for the art, Erin Brekke Conn for the beautiful painting, Shelley Boychuk for helping in the planning, and Carey and Angela Price for the signed jersey. You're all so generous!!!