Dear Angel Ride Foundation,
I just wanted to take a moment to try and convey just how grateful I am for all the work you do. You have restored so much peace and dignity to so many families. You are truly a blessing!
My son, Michael-Eric Colson, was one of your "angels" in 2006, and we were blessed to be invited to attend the Lone Star and Mustang Sally Concert/Benefit. That was such a WONDERFUL outpouring of support for our Special Little Angels!
I was overwhelmed to see the Riders come in, and amazed by their clear understanding of why they were participating in the ride. I feel you Foundation has given a sense of purpose to many in our community. I know your support of many hurting and scared families also has restored hope!
At the concert, I was blessed to see grown men cry at the speaker's testimonies on what the Rileigh and Raylee Angel Ride Foundation meant to them. I was particularly grateful for the sweet video about Rileigh & Raylee, and their part in the Foundation. I love the fact that each one on your team is special and NECESSARY - there are no little "I's" and big "U's". You exemplify "Team Work!"
Last year, 2006, was such a difficult year for our family in so many ways. We never dreamed of all the challenges we would face when our son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (High Functioning Autism) on February 28th. The emotional tug-of-war between, relief that we had finally discovered what was affecting our child, to grief our loosing some of our "typical life's dreams" for our child was overwhelming. More testing ensued and more diagnosis were found; seven as of September 2006. Medical bills increased and peace-of-mind decreased. My health even took a toll. There seemed to be no reprieve...UNTIL, I met Carissa in the waiting room a Thomas Hospital's Therapy Department. She encouraged me to apply for the Angel Ride Grant. I wasn't sure we would qualify, because up until then, every door had been shut to us. Autism has just recently received national awareness and recognition.
We still have many challenges ahead of us. We have had to look outside of our state for a Specialist to care for Eric's unique needs. Thus we lost the help of our medical insurance. Our last doctor closed his practice the first week in October 2006, and moved out of state. He was the only Neurological Autism Specialist in the state of Alabama.
As I stated earlier, my own health suffered dramatically this past year, and has taken me until this new year to recover. I have had to MAKE time for rest. Forcing myself to "rest" is very difficult, but many mother's forget they have to take some time, so that they CAN keep going for the long haul! That was another blessing from the concert...the "opportunity" to rest and allow us to forget, for a moment, about all the difficulties...we have to take those moments...or our whole "special family" will suffer.
Anyway, I am so sorry that it has taken me this long to write. I really just wanted to say THANK YOU! I am so glad to have you on our team, working for the health and stability of our family. I believe, when we all work together, we can give our angels extra feather's! I firmly believe, they will be able to fly higher, longer, and faster when they catch their perfect tailwind.
Mother of a Special Angel - Eric