Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Of Memories and Birthdays - I Challenge You!

Memories are sometimes a strange and wonderful thing.  You never know when or where a trigger is going to arrive. It could be a scent, a sound, a comment made, or even a song on the radio and suddenly you're reminiscing on a long ago moment in time. 

Just last week, I was reminded of a time when we were plotting a birthday party for our daughter. Her birthday always fell on the long weekend, but she'd been so excited to host a party that we didn't put up much of a fight.  We later wished we had, as not one family got back to us, let alone planned to attend and our little girl was heartbroken.  We planned some family "specials," as we'd commonly referred to them back then but hanging with family doesn't compare to the fuss and spectacle of a birthday party, right?

For us, it was an isolated incident created by what essentially boiled down to a scheduling conflict - but what if this conflict, was your normal?

Hearing of the story of a Peterborough soon-to-be teenager living on the ASD spectrum with Asperger Syndrome, was regularly bullied and had difficulty making friends.  Of 15 invitations handed out not one child responded.

Odin's mother took to social media making a plea to her online friends hoping to make the day better for her son. Sharing the phone number to his new cell phone, she asked moms to send a text to cheer him up.  Soon her plea went viral, and before long Odin's birthday was everywhere.  He is said to have received more than 5,000 text messages and more than 10,000 tweets; to say nothing of the variety of greetings, videos and gifts received and the hundreds of strangers who came out to bring a party for this young man.  I am always amazed at what can be accomplished when people care enough to put their best heart forward. 

At this point,  I would be remiss if I didn't mention the screaming voice inside my Mommy-brain that questions the sanity of posting your child's cell phone number online. Seems a little too much like serving up a tempting treat for the cyber-creeps among us.  Am I being too harsh? A little too protective perhaps?  I don't think so.. But I digress.

As many of you know, I'm an avid crafter and love making cards, so when a Facebook event cropped up for local area youngster, Ethan Barton's upcoming 8th birthday, I couldn't help but take a look.

Ethan's mom Cynthia, explains that birthdays are a hard time for Ethan.  They don't have birthday parties for Ethan with other children because he wouldn't be able to handle the noise and confusion and  to be honest, they couldn't be certain if anyone would attend.  Ethan has never been invited over to a friend's house to play, let alone to a birthday party, setting a child's heart up for that kind of disappointment just doesn't make sense. 

At Christmastime Ethan received a number of Christmas cards from fans and supporters and he was thrilled.  With his 8th birthday coming up on April 13th, 2015, Mom and Dad thought that perhaps a surprise outpouring of cards for his birthday would be a wonderful treat for him that would see him smiling and not wondering why he doesn't have a party with friends.

You may recognize Ethan's name as that of Ethan from "Paws for Ethan."  A site that was created to raise funds to help support Ethan's family on their journey to raise funds to help offset costs for a fur-ever friend for their son ~ an autism service dog.

For those who don't know about Ethan, his mom describes him as an energetic, funny, and loving boy who has been diagnosed with Autism, Anxiety, ADHD, DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder), SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), and ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). Despite all of the challenges he has already encountered he has had some huge accomplishments.

Like most boys his age, he has a big love of trucks - construction trucks, transport trucks, and Lego.  One of his favourite pastimes is playing a Truck simulator game on his iPad.

I often hear him in the background when chatting with his Mom.  If you didn't know of the long list of issues that he contends with every day, you would hear only the enthusiastic activity of a very busy young man.  Hearing him talk about his favourite game the other day reminded me of my own little man so many years ago and his seemingly one-track-mindedness when it came to certain things.  
A sampling of cards received so far..

So with that, I would like to jump on the birthday bandwagon, and I encourage you to do the same.  You don't have to make a card, you could even buy one, or send a post-card from where you live. 

No child should ever have to feel like they don't matter.  No parent should ever have to explain to their child in elementary school why they cannot have a birthday party, or why they aren't allowed to, or simply don't have friends like other kids. 

Would you like to join us on the Barton Birthday Bandwagon? (Boy say that a few times fast!) 

Ethan is turning 8, on April 13th. 

If you would like to take part, and send Ethan a birthday card, please send to:

Ethan Barton
121 Hicock Rd. RR2
Lyndhurst, ON, Canada, K0E-1N0

If you could please write on the card where you are from - they will be marking all of the places on a map to hang on Ethan's bedroom wall. 

I would love to challenge you, my friends, my family, blog readers and followers, to take a few moments to send a card, a postcard or even a birthday letter or note to let a young man know that he is being thought of on his special day. 

Even if you aren't able to send a card, if you could please share the link to this blog post, or Ethan's birthday event page so that others might have a look and consider taking part, it would be appreciated.  Thanks!!

For more information on Paw's for Ethan please visit:

To join the event page for Ethan's birthday visit:

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