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From Tiffany: Ollie and I have always had a very special relationship.
Growing up with a twin sister, who was and still is my very best friend, we always assumed our children would grow up being very close. We imagined them playing together, going to school together, and experiencing all of life’s adventures together. I imagined I would be my nephew’s favorite aunt and he would run to me with hugs and smiles every time he saw me.
Ollie is a child with autism. Ollie didn’t want my hugs. He didn’t run to me smiling like my other nephews. He didn’t want to look at me at all. However, with all the love and support that he gets from my sister and brother in law, and with a variety of services he receives from our school, Ollie has grown SOOO MUCH! He loves playing with Cris and Elena. He smiles at me and says, “Hi, Fifi!”. He makes eye contact and lets me hug him! My favorite moment with Ollie is when I visited him in his class during my lunch. He was so excited, and HE came to ME for a hug! It took 4 years for him to reach that special moment, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t promptly go back to my classroom to cry a little bit after that.
Ollie grows more and more every day, largely because of the support that he receives from those that interact with him daily. Organizations like Autism Speaks help to promote awareness and provide much needed resources and support to children with autism and their families.
From: Nathan: I am not always the most observant person, but it was hard to ignore when Ollie first had a real interaction with me. He didn't always acknowledge my presence, but slowly, he would start to bring his cars to me to play and would give me high fives.
I think our trip to Disney World was a turning point in our friendship. Waiting in long lines can be difficult for Ollie, but by then he'd grown to be so close to Cris and Elena. I was playing with them, trying to keep them busy, and Ollie joined right in! He even held my hand walking through the park after that.
I am raising funds to support a cause that is important to me and my nephew, Ollie, while accomplishing a personal goal.