What ‘World Autism Day’ means to me.

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As you know, my platform is Autism. Most of you know that my niece, Skye, is Autistic. What you may or may not know is that means. I’m going to try my best this year to not only educate every single person I come in contact with, but to help people truly understand Autism. My hope is that when you see a child “throwing a tantrum” you won’t judge, because perhaps there is more going on than meets the eye.

To me, World Autism Day is a chance to celebrate the 1 in 88. For me, that means a personal celebration for Skye. She reminds me every time I see her how precious life is and I will forever be thankful for that. It is my duty to educate and involve my community so that they can understand Autism and help raise funding and awareness together for adults and children like Skye.

 

A few facts:

  1. Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys.
  2. Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases.
  3. Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.

Let me leave you with this:

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid”

-Einstein.

 

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“A champion is someone who gets up, even when they can’t” – Natalie Rogers

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The last few days I have attempted to give back to the military as much as possible. After just 2 events I have developed a deeper gratitude for all branches of service.

It is so easy to go about our day to day lives and not think about what, or who, makes it easy. If it weren’t for those in uniforms protecting our right to be free, life would be completely different and not in a good way.

I had the privilege of welcoming home over 500 soldiers with Operation Welcome Home Maryland on Wednesday night and into the early hours of Thursday morning. They were so overwhelmed and thankful that people were there to greet them and they actually thanked us. That made me think, how can people who have been fighting for months in another country be so grateful that we were there for a few hours to greet them. They weren’t expecting it. I feel that they should expect it. Why shouldn’t we show are gratitude? Welcoming home these troops is the very least we can do. I encourage everyone to experience this at least once in your lifetime. Find more information here: http://www.operationwelcomehomemd.org

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Today I visited the Wounded Warriors Hospital with Miss Maryland International. As I type this I am  trying to think of the right words to use to describe my visit, but there are none. I can say this, not one of the soldiers we spoke with was bitter or discouraged. Just full of pride and ready to dive right back into life after recovery. Let us all take something from my experience. Life is short. You never know what will happen, so make every moment count. Live with purpose and pride, the way those defending our country do.

Love, Crystal XO

Miracles for Molly

Today I went to Molly’s Egg Hunt. Maybe you were like I was when I first heard about Molly’s Egg Hunt. I wondered who is Molly? Today I found out who Molly is and how her legacy lives on. Let me share it with you. This is pulled directly from the Miracles for Molly Facebook page:

“Seven year old, Molly Dunne, was diagnosed with severe Pulmonary Hypertension after collapsing on her first day of kindergarten in Sept 2010. She has had a long, difficult journey since then. A few days after she collapsed, she went into cardiac arrest and was placed on ECMO (heart-lung bypass). She was then flown from Delaware to Pittsburgh, PA and became the 2nd child in the U.S. to be placed on an artificial lung, called a Novalung. She remained on the Novalung for 25 days. During that time we learned Molly suffered a significant brain injury. We were told she may never see, walk, talk or do anything like a normal child again. We also found out that her Pulmonary Hypertension is due to Hereditary Hemorraghic Telangiectasia which is a genetic condition that causes malformations in blood vessels. She has been in rehab therapy for the past 17 months and is now walking with the help of a walker, saying a few words and most definitely sees everything around her. She has come so far. Unfortunately, her Pulmonary Hypertension has progressed. She is in heart failure and her lungs are very sick. She is not eligible for transplant and we are working with Palliative Care to try and make whatever time she has left the best it can be! Molly has an older brother Ryan, age 9, and a twin sister, Kate. Molly is dearly loved by so many. Both Pulmonary Hypertension and HHT are rare disorders and we want to get the word out to hopefully help prevent another family having to go through what we’ve been through.”

I was blessed today by Molly’s family and friends as they shared Molly’s story with me. I met Molly’s mother and father, her twin sister, Kate and her brother. There were no tears, just joy and celebration of the life lived by a remarkable girl. She has left a legacy behind and we can all be part of it. Please take the time to pay it forward and provide someone with a small miracle in the name of Molly.

Light Up the Night for Sojourners’ Place 22nd Anniversary

I walked into the Wilmington Country Club not knowing a single soul. As Miss Delaware International, that happens a lot. When I approached the check-in table, Jimmy Horty greeted me with a smile that lit up the room. I immediately felt at ease. All of the staff and volunteers were so happy I was joining them, but what they didn’t know is they were doing me the favor. The atmosphere was so warm and welcoming. I was walking around selling 50/50 tickets, but also engaging in wonderful conversation with the supporters, staff and residents. By the end of the evening, I had laughed, cried (from stories of loss, triumph and love) and made connections I will never forget.
All of the information below I have taken directly from their Facebook page. Please check out this cause:
This is the way of Sojourners’ Place. Not just Hope for the Homeless, but also Light for the Journey.

Unlike emergency shelters which provide a place to get in and out of the weather, Sojourners’ Place offers homeless women and men a place to get their lives back together, a place to come in to and go out from. Residents stay at Sojourners’ Place as long as they need to stop being homeless. A successful graduate leaves Sojourners’ Place with a full-time job and housing.

50 residents at a time stay as long as necessary to complete their individualized programs.

Each resident is evaluated to determine their unique needs, and signs a contract that he or she will fully participate in achieving the goal of self sufficiency, whether it is substance abuse education, life skills, GED, access to job training, mental health counseling or other services.

Once a resident completes the appropriate programs and is gainfully employed, we continue to shelter them, teaching them how to manage their money, to save, to become responsible for their own lives. Only when they are ready, do they leave. 

General Information:

Acceptance into the Sojourners’ Place residential program is a 4 step, client driven process. Prospective residents must call (302) 764-4713 to set up an appointment to be interviewed by one of our Case Managers. Interviews are conducted every Tuesday, weather permitting, from 9:30am-3:30pm. Prospects should bring photo ID and a Social Security card if possible. Additionally, each prospective resident should be prepared to discuss their current living situation, addiction history as well as other factors which may have contributed to their homelessness.