Friday, March 15, 2013

My 13 Year Old Hero & Family

No, not my hero when I was 13 years old, rather a true hero (and she doesn't know it) with Super Hero sibs and parents, of today! This is, by far, the most difficult blog I have written. Usually I take you, gentle reader, to some wonderful trip with me, and maybe explore some neato NASA stuff, or play tourist in Life.

Well, today you may wish to put your tray-tables in their locked, upright positions, it's gonna be a bumpy ride. And yes, do fasten your seat belts as well.

This story starts about 13 years ago really. That was when a beautiful baby girl was born to some very loving, and wonderful parents: Kelli and Matt. The new girl, Issy, was second in the line of sibs, preceded by her older brother and would be followed by a younger sister.

As a baby, then toddler, it was apparent that dear Issy had issues. Fast forward and discover that she has Autism. Not just the run of the mill, garden variety of Autism that you think you know about. Nope... Issy is wired such that she becomes violent. No, I don't mean she yells and throws a tantrum. I mean she she yells and hits and kicks, and is a true force of Nature. Twice Issy has put her mother Kelli in the hospital with closed head injuries! Issy is a big girl for her age, and Kelli is a bit short of petite. The term "Punching Bag" comes to mind. Issy has also manifested against her younger sister, and her Dad. For whatever reason big brother is usually left alone?

So, for years, Kelli, and Matt have tried everything to get some help for this daughter that they both love dearly. You name it, they have tried it. Nothing was working. At all. Issy would explode at the drop of a hat. (Don't say "No", don't make eye contact!) Really the family was just about completely "gave out" as we would say up here. They estimated that they've spent about $60,000 on Issy in the past 12 years! Financially speaking they really are "gave out"!

But, as Paul Harvey used to say, here's the "rest of the story"... In February of this year Issy was placed at Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment and Research . AND IT'S WORKING!!! For the very first time in her young life, Issy is getting it!! But (and ya just knew there had to be one, didn't ya?) this comes at a price. A very hefty price. Somewhere around $770 per day of a price. *big gulp* Oh wait, that's okay 'cause Insurance will pick up the tab, right? Wrong. You see, in the fair State of Michigan, in the most perfect example of cronyism ever, the State Legislature has ruled that Autism isn't a Mental Health Issue, and therefore Insurance companies (looks directly at Blue Cross) DON'T have to pay. Yeah... Autism isn't a Mental Health Issue... right.

So our little community has truly banded together to help. We've put on dinners, bake sales, more dinners, and even an upcoming Zumba Class (wherein I've been challenged not only to attend, but wear my kilt?!) and now shirts. When we talk with people they remark how wonderful it is that we've raised $4,000, or $5,000 and think well that's that. I am here to assure you all that it isn't! We've only been able to raise enough funds to keep Issy there until late May (as of this writing). But she needs to stay until Thanksgiving ! That's right, she needs the full course of treatment, and that means she needs stay until the end of November (sorry, for those in Canada our Turkey Day, not yours). Oh, and how do I know these people you ask? They attend my Church, and are very active in our community! Matt is Principal at the local High School, as well as being the Football and Basketball coach. Kelli has a great gig with Birth Stories On Demand and both of them serve on the town council! Also the older son, and younger daughter are sparkling examples of what it means to live in Northern Michigan! They are great people, and I am honored to call them my friends!

So, what can you do? Simply put, you can share this story with every Social Media outlet at your fingertips! #TeamIssy needs this to go viral. We need to have everyone share this until penguins in Antarctica are wearing Team Issy shirts!! We need for each of you to share, repost, twit and plus this out. The hope is that this story will find just the right person to really make it a going concern. Maybe a TV, Radio or Film Producer? Maybe someone who has connections to a philanthropic endeavor? That is how you can help. Please get the word out! Oh sure, if you can donate a couple of bucks, that would be very appreciated as well. But really, this is a plea for voice, not money. And you can be a part of the voice that get Issy the help she needs. You can be a part of this loving journey, for Issy, and her family, and our community. 

So, with that, I am going to include some links. This first link is to Kelli's blog that started the journey for most of us. Take a minute to read it. Take a minute to watch the video. Mind you, it is disturbing. But after you do that, then read some of her latest blogs. This journey starts out in a very dark place, but all of us are trying to shed more and more love and light! 

Dancing On the Edge Kelli's blog about what Autism has done to her family. This is MUST link to share!
Facebook: Team Issy 
Twitter: @TeamIssy 
If you wish to donate (all proceeds go towards her cost of treatment): The Elberta Alert


  1. Oh Jamie! You told our story perfectly! Thank you so much. She is worth it. She really, really is.....

  2. Jamie it's so nice knowing kindred hearts abound!
    I've learned quite a bit about Autism these past 4 years in which my brain injured, post transplant 13 year old grandson has come to live with me.

    It seems I spend much of my life researching.

    However his particular issues aren't 'out there' and I have to start with Autism and filter.

    He was on Risperdal when he came. I now have him completely off all drugs except for his anti-rejection meds.
    I've started experimenting with Amino Acids, such as GABA & the BCAA's have helped with stimming. He is no longer a threat to himself or others.

    It's such hard work finding the special tools that will enrich a young life, helping them be happy in whatever their best can be.

    Issy and her family have my admiration & support!

    We are Blue Cross here too in WA State, oh the joy, not.