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Autism One Lit a Fire

Angela Warner By Angela Warner (That's Angela, Pam Felice and Vicky Sabula at Autism One.)

Autism One! May 19 through the 24, 2009!

I attended the Autism One conference in Chicago, IL. Autism One lit a fire under my ass!!! (I know, those of you who know me are probably thinking, did she really need that? LOL.) I am still flying high!!! I've not even completely unpacked my suitcase yet (yes I washed my dirty laundry). My suitcase is still being moved between the bed and floor for therapy sessions and sleeping purposes. I may get to it this week. I've just had way more important things to do and honestly I have thought it may just stay that way until next year, because I’ll be there for sure. I'll have less packing to next year, right?

I flew into Chicago and Autism One on Tuesday afternoon (May 19th), and Tuesday night I was hanging out with those who have been the backbones of our community. Immediately I knew each and every one of them as family. I wish it wasn't this way, honestly, because I met these family members because of autism. And autism sucks!!! But I am so glad I did because meeting them and connecting has given me; a tremendous spiritual lift, given me more tools and opportunity to help families and kids currently in autism, and to "pay it forward" to help new families, and ultimately to help stop the madness behind what the cause is of autism.

Tuesday night hanging out in the presidential suite with my new family, I was blessed to see a preview of THIS which was going to be shown during the Autism One Dinner and Auction. It Is A Must Watch!!! It was an indicator of the week to come. The beginning of the power of Autism One and the rest of the family of Autism Warriors I would meet! I almost could not stop my tears. What I didn't know was that the Autism File Campaign video would be altered one last time to include a picture of the military moms taken on the last night of the conference by Louis Felix Photography. To learn more about Autism One GO HERE, and to order a subscription of The Autism File Magazine GO HERE. I've ordered mine for sure!!! When I saw the Final Cut I must say, it made me damn proud to be an autism mom and a military autism mom. Learn how you can get involved and be part of the Autism File Campaign HERE.

At this family gathering Tuesday night I was invited to participate Wednesday morning on Autism One Radio, Live With Curt Linderman (lower left corner - Help/Download Shows - click the May calendar - and scroll to May 20th). I must admit, I was a little intimidated, but I was there for a reason; to represent our military children, and my own concerns as a parent. There was no way in hell I was going to say no. The show was great! I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I’m not one for public speaking. I then ran my tail off for the rest of the day for Autism One, and had an incredible amount of fun in the process. I learned so much just working and talking with people. It was amazing! There is not one person who I knew was going to be at Autism One that I did not get to meet and spend some time with. WOW!!!

Many parents began to arrive late Wednesday and into Thursday morning. I was busy volunteering and attending presentations when I was able. It is amazing to me, because I gained knowledge not only from the presentations I attended, but from talking to people at booths, and just running into people randomly.

One family in particular arrived on Friday afternoon. I had just met Jenny McCarthy and was still flying from meeting her (thank you Jenny for wearing the Autism Salutes pin I gave you), and I was sitting in the business center trying to type something up quick for the auction. I looked up and I saw Deanna. I screamed out her name and jumped up and we both ran towards each other embracing, then looking, then embracing, then looking, then embracing, and bawling. I met Scott, Deanna’s Warrior hubby and Warrior Father after we were done with our girl mush (sorry I have to lighten the mood – it get’s intense as we know all to well). Deanna and Scott’s first born son Ian died shortly after birth from a Hep B vaccine.

Deanna and I are sisters; of that neither of us have a doubt. At one point after meeting, after months of talking on the phone and emailing, I took a moment after I got my “work” done, and looked around and cried for a moment… My thoughts… There are too many parents here... there are too many children. There are too many children with autism and other vaccine injuries, and too many deaths. Those who have read my previous writings know I’ve known all along the “true” number of children (and adults) with autism, have to understand how overwhelming it was; yet at the same time understand what a kindred spirit I felt, as we are all here seeking the same answer. And that is how to heal our children.

I walked the mini walk for Elias Tembenis with some dear family, both old and new. It was short, but beautiful, and especially knowing I was walking in honor of Elias. The pain I feel in my heart thinking about what it might feel like to really lose your child drops me to my knees in heartfelt agony.

Deanna and Scott, and Harry and Gina are Warrior parents and I am so grateful and proud they are part of our community! You can read about Ian HERE and Elias HERE. Deanna, Scott, Gina, and Harry inspire me to my very core. They could have let their loss overwhelm them, they could have walked away. Instead they fight every day for OUR kids. I have a name for them. Hero Warrior Parents!

Thank you Ian. Thank you Elias. Your spirit's will continue to light the way for parents and children now, and those to come. You are Little Hero Warrior Men!

Friday night there was karaoke, and I’m sorry, I refused. I HAD a phobia of public speaking. I went to go get a drink and I ran into Ed (shame on you if you don’t know who he is by now LOL), and I was not aware of the memorial for Liz Birt at midnight (shame on me) that he informed me of, well… Liz was tragically killed not long after Nathan was diagnosed, and I remember the grief I felt when I read the news. I may not sing, but I can make sure I announce this because every single person in that room needed to be there, and I did exactly that. OMG!!! You had to be there. The memorial for Liz was so poignant and beautiful, I cry as I sit here in my garage writing just thinking about it. God bless and rest her soul.

I will forever keep my candle. The candle I held in honor of your memory will be passed on to my children. Thank you Liz, for all that you did.

My last night... Saturday night… the Auction... The Auction Moms had already had their PICTURE taken (I was one of them), we were seated, and awaiting dinner.

Sam Debold, beloved son of Vicky Debold, recovered from autism, was introduced by our wonderful and ceaseless healer, researcher, and father himself, Dr. Andy Wakefield. Sam played one of my all time favorite songs, Hotel California. Before Hotel California, is the theme to Harry Potter. Sam is 11 years old, and he is amazing!!! I used to listen to Hotel California all the time when I was growing up (it was on the radio then), and because my dad had it on vinyl (is that how you spell it LOL). You can see Dr. Andy Wakefield introduce Sam and hear his performance. Pop over HERE on Age Of Autism, then read the post and scroll for the You Tube 1. All the videos are labeled in the order that they took place. Sam also played and sang Sunday Bloody Sunday. What talent Sam has. He WOWED us!!!

The evening moved me in ways I'll never be able to describe. There is a fun part here; I refused to sing at karaoke Friday night, but I've talked with Vicky since Sam performed, and told her that if Sam was going to play Hotel California I could maybe be convinced. I guess I'd better get practicing, yet I'm giving myself the latitude to chicken out as I think Sam might kick my arse LOL!!!

I promised myself a few things before the conference; I am going to learn a ton, meet lots of people, and have a blast at AUTISM ONE!!! I say I did all three in pretty equal amounts.
Yep, I think I’m just gonna keep moving that suitcase of mine around. I’ll be there next year! Do I really have to wait that long to have another chocolate martini? LOL! Yummy! Autism One is truly the most beautiful unification of spirit I’ve ever been witness to, and I am so proud to be part of and continue to serve our community! You’ll be there in 2010, right? Yes, you will. Autism One lit a fire…

Angela Warner is an Air Force spouse and mother of four children, two of whom are recovering/recovered from autism. Angela founded the Autism Salutes blog, contributes to Age of Autism, and will be writing for Autism One on military issues.

Comments

Teresa Conrick

Hi Angela,

It was great to meet you at Autism One! Your post here on AoA is inspiring and very positive....

....And we can always use more of that!

Thanks for all that you do for military families and and also us plain, old, tired, non-military but warrior parents :)

nhokkanen

I really appreciate energetic, committed parents like Angela, and feel grateful that Harry, Gina, Deanna and Scott are continuing the fight for safer vaccines and treatments for injured children.

The take-home messages for "non-affected" families are Angela's observations:
"There are too many parents here... there are too many children. There are too many children with autism and other vaccine injuries, and too many deaths."

Too many people still labor under the misapprehension that vaccine injuries are rare. They don't realize that when we fight for our children's health rights, we're fighting for THEIRS, too.

David Granovsky

Stem Cells for Autism - An Open Letter to President Obama

Cologne, Germany (PRWEB) June 8, 2009 -- The mother of a Bayport, New York girl reaches out to President Obama to make stem cell therapy available in America after her daughter's successful treatment in Germany at the XCell-Center in January 2009.

http://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/06/08/stem-cells-for-autism-an-open-letter-to-president-obama/

Maria M.

Wow Angela, you literally took the words ( that I have had a hard time describing) out of my mouth! This was my third year going to Autism One and I must say that each time I have gone, the energy I get from it carries me to the next year. I’m so happy to have met you! I feel a deeply engrained trust and admiration for all of the moms and dads I have met over the years at the conference. I don’t come from a large family, (I’m an only child) but I feel like I have a HUGE family now. Not by blood, but by choice. Autism sucks but with friends like you all it makes it not all that bad. Who else really gets it when your child has a breakthrough? Or has a really bad day? My child is just about recovered. The work that has gone into that is tremendous. I will never forget what my days used to be like, nor will I ever stop fearing that things could someday go back to the way they were. I will never stop trying to help others who have been where I have been and I will always aspire to be as involved and committed as you (and others like you) are. Thank you for all that you do!

Harry Tembenis

Angela: It was an honor, pleasure and distinction to have you walk alongside us in memory of our son Elias! God Bless you, your family and the military. You are all in our prayers. We look forward to walking with you again, next year!

Much Love,

Harry & Gina Tembenis

PS

Some links that may be of help to military families:

http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/military.php

PPS

We also had the chance to meet Deanna and Scott; what incredible people!

Lisa in Texas

Angela,
It was a pleasure meeting you in person finally! I am so impressed with your fight as a military mom, because clearly the resources you are getting are much less than those of us in the civilian world can get with our PPOs and HMOs. Keep the fight, and I will continue sending all military parents to autismsalutes.com. You are such an angel for our community, hence your name!
I look forward to seeing you next A1.

Jacey

I think I just literally had a break down from seeing Ian's website. I am sobbing....what a precious little boy. And what incredible parents to carry out his name for the safety of other children.
Parents like them alway make me want to carry on....and fight.
God bless Scott and Deanna...you all are forever my heros!!
Jacey Capurso

Cathy Jameson

Angela,

Thanks for all that you do for the military families. It was great to meet you and share some stories--I am glad we can keep in touch even after the conference since I too feel like there is a fire to forge ahead louder and better than before. You have such energy and I'm glad it's channeled into helping all our precious kids!

dan olmsted

Hi Angela -- Thanks for the post -- I definitely enjoyed being around your good energy at Autism One...see you next year if not before and please keep posting for us! == dan

Jeanne

Ang, I really appreciate this blow-by-blow account of your experience at A1. I was able to live it vicariously through you; and will be sure to NOT miss it next year. ;)

Talk to you in a few... LOL

Anne Dachel

Angela is a tremendous voice out there. She's part of a chorus that gets LOUDER AND LOUDER. While doctors ignore the epidemic and health officials scratch their collective heads over autism, the autism community will expose the undeniable truth to the world. Those unwilling to accept the holocaust created by unsafe vaccines will be swept aside. Thank you Angela for the uplifting phone calls and for all you do!
Anne Dachel

Tanners Dad

It is amazing how the week was able to change lives, offer hope, and build the community. The Age of Autism Team brought me to their table to break bread ( literally ) and it was if we had been friends forever. Visiting with Andy, Feeling the strength of the Hazlehursts, Julie O giving us the ammunition to fight, Lisa A more positive energy than I have seen for a long time, and of course the Somali parents which will give me courage when I am blue.
The amazing part is that I am motivated to return because I did not get to shake your hand, meet you, and thank you Angela for all you do for Military families. I can not imagine what families deal with in the military and then pile the Autism issues on top of that. I have heard there is a little support but I am sure the same government runs the military that runs the HHS CDC FDA AAP ETC.
At first, I was a little overwhelmed and thought I would continue to hide behind my computer. Your strength to sing, sharing of stories & Videos will build my strength to come up to Chicago again. Especially since we did not meet. Thanks for the passionate review.

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