Below is a story that brings our mission into sharp focus. Autism advocate, friend, mother - Feda Almaliti and her 15 year old son Muhammed died in a house fire. Our biggest worry is for the well being and safety of our beloved children during our time together and after our death. Feda went back into the burning house to save her son. She carried him for nine months. Carried him through autism for 15 years. But she could not carry him out of the house - and so she perished with her son in her arms. She had just turned 43 years old. Please take a moment to think of her bravery and selfless love for her son. Just look at that 1000 watt smile.
From the National Council on Severe Autism:
Yesterday was a day that rocked the autism community. Feda Almaliti, one of the founders of the National Council on Severe Autism and who was recognized nationally for her outspoken and often brash and hilarious advocacy for individuals and families impacted by autism, perished in an accidental house fire with her beloved son Muhammed. Feda was able to run out of the house along with her sister and niece but then went back in to bring out Mu. She could not carry him but kept fighting till she lost her breath due to heavy smoke. When the fire officials found the bodies, Feda was holding Muhammed.
Our hearts are broken.
Feda had just turned 43 five days before the fire, and she was at a turning point, filled with a buoyant energy about her future. She talked of many plans — dating, going back to school, helping to chair new autism programs and conferences, and even writing (well, dictating, as she admitted) a book called, of course, #AutisticAF.
Thousands of people had seen Feda tell her family’s story on various stages, millions had heard her despair in an NPR interview, a rapidly growing audience was tuning into her new podcast, The Scoop, and many thousands in the Bay Area had benefited from the events she helped organize, including autism family pool parties (inspired by her own frustration of having nowhere to take Mu to swim), huge Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area conferences on adult autism, webinars, and parent support gatherings among them. With The Scoop and other efforts she was buzzing with excitement about opportunities to discuss with honesty and compassion the hardest issues facing autism families. She was irrepressible, lord help anyone who got in her way. Read more here.
From local SF Bay area news:
A house fire early Saturday morning in the Sundale neighborhood of Fremont has claimed the lives of a nationally-respected autism support advocate and her teenage son.
Family members have confirmed the deaths of 43-year-old Feda Almaliti and her 15-year-old son, Muhammed, in a one-alarm fire in their home in the 39000 block of Serra Place in Fremont. Firefighters arrived at 1:45 a.m. to find the residence, in the 39000 block of Serra Place, fully engulfed in flames.
Four people were home at the time, according to Fremont fire officials. The other occupants were uninjured.
Almaliti was vice president of the National Council on Severe Autism. She was also a commissioner on the city of Fremont’s Human Relations Commission.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.