The Road of Recognition honors RHBs (Real Human Beings) who are trying to do the right thing. You did more than what was expected of you. We know you didn’t do it for recognition. But you're in 3rd gear and we want to keep you there.
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My wave goes out to my son, Max.
On Tuesday, my 13 year old autistic son got "married". While this was not a legally binding marriage, it was one of the most heroic and selfless acts I have ever witnessed.
Max has known Cassie since he was born. She is the 15 year old daughter of my best friend.
Cass was born with a genetic disorder called Epidermolysis Bullosa. Her type (recessive dystrophic) is severe and terminal. People with this type have a life expectancy ranging from 12-22.
She has not been doing well for the last couple of years and we are now at the stage of "keep her comfortable".
In December, I moved back home for a while. My best friend and I were sharing a house along with my 3 kids and his 2. They have grown up together and have often referred to each other as family.
Logan is "Uncle Logan", I am "Aunt Holly". We have just been that way for years.
Moving (or any change, really) is often very rough on autistic children. Max tends to "melt down" in the form of retreating into himself.
Cass is at an age that she is fully aware of her situation and is openly communicative about her fears and hopes.
Within a short span of time after we moved, Logan and I noticed something. Max and Cass had become nearly inseparable. Logan and I discussed this quite a bit between the two of us and, while we both typically carry a no dating until 16 rule, we considered making an exception in this case.
After several weeks, it was clear that these to were good for each other. So, we approached them separately and asked how they felt about possibly going out on a date.
Turned out, they had both considered it, too. Cass had asked a boy at church to the movies about a year ago and was crushed when he declined. Max had wanted to ask, but was a little shy, also fearing rejection.
So, we said it would be okay. What has unfolded since then has been downright magical.
Early on, Cass came to me to say "thank you". She informed me that the last month had been the best in her life. She said she had never been so happy.
Meanwhile, I watched my 13 year old son as he gave me a glimpse of the man he will one day be. As he fixed meals for her, assisted her in getting "dressed" (she is covered neck to toes in bandages and her fingers are fused, she requires help to put on dresses or big t-shirts), poke his head in every morning before school to make sure she has everything she needs, etc.
I watch as this child with a disorder that makes interpersonal relationships somewhat difficult reaches out and touches this young lady with his heart in all that he does.
That, alone, is something to be proud of. But he topped himself.
On Valentine's Day, Max got down on one knee in IHOP and proposed to Cassie.
He told me later that he just wanted to let her have the opportunity to live every girl's dream. He knows she won't live long enough to wait until a more "appropriate" age, so he asked Logan and I to help him carry out his task.
On Tuesday, March 27th, friends and family looked on as these two beautiful souls took part in a commitment ceremony in our back yard.
There were tears of joy all around as they joined their hearts in love…
Today, I loaded up my things to move back to North Carolina. Max elected to stay behind. It was entirely up to him, though Logan and I discussed it beforehand.
Since Max arrived, Cass has taken less pain meds. She has been up more and seems to have found some more "fight". I knew that taking Max away would likely cause serious setbacks in that department.
There was not a moment of hesitation when I told him that I was going back to North Carolina. He insisted on staying. He says it is his job to care for Cass until she passes.
I have been told his whole life that he would likely never connect with anyone on a deep level (though he has always been extremely close to me and his grandpa)…
Not only has he connected, but he has shown the most deeply pure love that looks beyond the bandages, the extreme physical limitations, and puts his own intense drives to the side often to care for her.
Max is my hero. I couldn't be more proud of my son (and all the people that came together to share in their special day). He is only 13 and is showing strong 3rd Gear behavior without all the knowledge and specifically with his own social challenges!
Submitted by: Holly Lynn Reynolds
Edith was my mother's best friend. Mom would often talk about their long conversations and the laughter they shared over tea. The news that mom's breast cancer had returned was devastating for my dad and all 4 boys. My wife and I made the long drive back to Ottawa. Before I went in to see [...]
This thank-you wave video is for my dad: CWO Fred Howlett, RCAF (ret).
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*This month, all proceeds from your waves go to:
Hero RATs in Africa.