Crocheting for a Cause
I had the absolute pleasure of working on a logo and website for an old friend this week. We had lost touch after high school, but throughout the years have kept up through the magic of Facebook. I sometimes looked at her photos of her journeys in Gambia while in the Peace Corps, and then later her photos of her and her husband, and eventually her adorable son, Ben.
Although I only looked at these photos on rare occasions, one of her posts actually came to my attention one day. Overwhelmed with emotions, I wanted to help. I had no clue of the hardships she was facing, and am incredibly honored to know this strong woman, even if only through Facebook these last 10 years. Her post is below. I do several free projects a year for non-profit clubs or organizations.
Dear Facebook Friends and Family,
Soon, it will be a year since Ben was diagnosed with autism. Some people see that as a bad thing, but since his diagnosis (and therefore eligibility for many different types of early interventions), Ben has made great progress, and we’ve seen huge changes in a relatively short period of time. He’s talking more, becoming more affectionate (I always knew he cared about it, but it’s amazing to see him expressing it!), and is starting to make friends. Though he is still a flaming ball of energy, improved communication makes it easier to transition between activities, reduces frustration (for all of us!), and makes him more attentive to dangerous situations, a major issue just a year ago. We are so proud of how hard he has worked and of how he has managed to remain loving, creative, and hilarious through what has often been quite a challenge.
Our family is trying hard to make sure that Ben gets everything that he needs, but it continues to be a struggle for us. Ben’s schools, speech and occupational therapy, behavioral psychology, and doctor’s appointments help him immensely, but shatter my schedule into pieces too small for a traditional job. I tried going back to grad school last year, but with everything else we were dealing with, it proved too difficult to split my time between Ben and my studies. Getting insurance coverage through my school meant a large up-front loan and significant co-insurance payments for every medical or therapeutic visit, and for the past few months since I’ve been out of school, we have been without insurance and therefore responsible for the full price. We are applying for other insurance alternatives, but they won’t cover treatments we’ve already had. Alimou has two minimum wage jobs (at 7-11 and Walmart) and works over 60 hours a week on the evening and overnight shifts, as well as taking ESOL classes at the local community college to improve his English and work toward his GED. He works his butt off for us, but has very little to show for it (financial or benefits-wise), and usually has to sleep during the day when Ben is awake.
I don’t tell you these things to ask for your pity; if this situation has taught me anything, it’s that pity is not productive. The rest of my family is working hard, and while I may not have the flexibility to work a regular 9-5, there are still things that I can do. We live frugally, and I work several small part time jobs. I have recently started a small business called Bouncebounceboom as well, selling things that I’ve made myself in my spare time. I’m hoping that these efforts can help us pay down our debts and continue to support Ben’s progress through his various treatments and interventions.
So many of you have already helped us in many ways, and we are eternally grateful to you for all your support. If you’d like to help in this way, please check out the FB page I’ve made for Bouncebounceboom and check out what I have available for sale, or to put in a made-to-order order for a gift or some winter-weather accessories for yourself. We appreciate you checking it out (and reading this unusually long post), and look forward to working for you!
Sincerely, Kellee, Alimou, and Ben Bah