I would like to give you a very special background to a very special young lady...
In November 2016 myself and my family lost our little boy Theo James at full term - a truly life changing event that shocked and stunned our entire family. Our eldest daughter has ASD (Asperger's) and the loss of Theo James was something to this day she still struggles to understand - the day of Theo's funeral was the only time I have really experienced heart felt loss and emotion from Lauren.
Lauren is a bright, intelligent and so much fun to be around but life has treated her differently. Lauren attempted to study at college to be a voice over artist, with dreams of working in America and was isolate by her peers for being different, which forced her to leave. Lauren tried to go back to college yet found making friendships difficult and group work was not easy for her, so again she decided the best thing was to come out of education and to maybe look for employment.
As many of you will know, it is hard to find employment at any time, yet alone when you are 19, not knowing what you want from the world for one, but then finding someone who will give you that opportunity. Lauren has really struggled to find work, has loss self confidence in her abilities and has been very isolated for many months now - every day has been a really struggle for her, especially with the current climate and COVID-19, meaning any access she had to the outside world before has been cut off and this has significantly effected her outlook on life and the life lines she did have previously when her mental health was not as good as it should be - the thoughts of never having a job or earning any money to reach her travelling goals has been so upsetting to watch especially when it is your child.
As grieving parents that lost their son, we have not been able to put the input and direction into Lauren as we should have been able to do, but this has not been with intent - when you lose a child your whole world changes and everything within it changes also - all of our children have been effected by the loss, but my two other girls are much younger and it is a little easier to explain.
Lauren has always wanted to travel and has wanted to go to Disney World in Florida for as long as I can remember - you can often find Lauren in her room having a "Disney Marathon" as she refers to it, sitting for hours watching her favourite Disney movies. Lauren is a thrill seeker and loves her rides and what better place to achieve the thrills and adventure she seeks than in Florida at Disney World.
Lauren has a heart of gold, she is loving and caring and she is the best sister we could wish for, despite her social difficulties and has a bond with our Rainbow Baby Jax Rain, that we never expected to see - Jax is the only one of our children who she happily gives time and attention to, but this we believe is because of his link to Theo James.
I would love to be able to do something special and life changing for Lauren, something to thank her for the support she gives us as a family, despite that being such a difficult thing to do - every day is a battle for Lauren, to be motivated, to look for work, to adhere to what society expects from her, even to engage in conversation at times - we all struggle with this at times, so imagine how hard this is with a disability like ASD - I try to imagine it, but really can't and yet I know to Lauren these struggles are so real, real enough that at times because of the way she feels isolated, suicide has been a real consideration for her.
I am a Special Consable and Crisis Counsellor as well as Mental Health Instructor for MHFA and I am lucky that some of the skill sets I have developed allow me to know how to work with Lauren and to get the best from her and to help her see some light at the end of the tunnel - my career path was very much focused on helping others after losing Theo, having experienced some very dark times like Lauren also.
I am hoping my friends, my family, my connections through Social Media, those I know and those I don't will see how genuine my reach out is and how a contribution, no matter how big or small can help achieve something that for Lauren would not only mean the world to her and us as a family - but would truly be life changing.
I am reaching out to help fund a once in a lifetime trip for Lauren, so she can fly to Florida, visit Disney World, stay close to the park, eat all of the amazing food she has always wanted to try, bring back souvenirs that can remind her of the amazing trip she will have been on and build a memory wall to look back on - she will need to be close to the park, so she doesn't have to think about buses or difficult travel and passes to the park, so she can really experience everything Disney has to offer.
I have never reached out like this before on a platform like this - but I needed to do something, I wanted to make her see the world is a kind place, full of kind people and although she may have been treated badly in the past or discriminated against, people really do care - I am hoping that you can be part of creating what I can only describe as a life changing trip for Lauren.
I want to thank you in advance for reading our back story and if you are able to contribute, or know others that would like to, please share - I am so grateful for your time and anything you can do to help - thank you for being part of my legacy for Lauren and creating something amazing in memory of our little boy Theo James.