Conner will be turning 8 this summer. I can hardly believe it. He has come a long way!
You may know that Conner was born at 23 weeks gestation weighing just a little over 1 lb. He was given a 20% chance of survival and only a 5% chance of survival without a major disability. Over the last 7 years, we have faced so many uncertainties and unknowns. We joined The Friendship Circle of Michigan 5 years ago because we were searching for a community of people who could understand what we were going through and for resources to help us as Conner grows up. Conner has defied so many odds and is such an amazing and creative child. Although we still have many struggles and things are never easy, he has made us very proud every day.
Every year, we search for extra-curricular activities for Conner that will be fun and let him just be a kid. So much of his time is consumed with therapy and school and sometimes he just needs to have fun. As he gets older, it has become more difficult to just put him in any activity. Although Conner is very social and active, he sometimes has difficulty with attention and motor tasks are challenging. Some activities are just too strenuous for him and he gets too worn out. This is why The Friendship Circle is so amazing. They provide amazing programs and pair each child up with a volunteer to help them enjoy each and every activity. As for me, I have found a great community of moms that are not only resources but have also become a very important support system for our family.
The Friendship Circle of Michigan is an organization that was "founded on the idea that within each person is a soul, regardless of any limitations that may surround it, regardless of whatever natural gifts we may have or lack, regardless of what obstacles and challenges we may confront, our souls are sacred and worthy or boundless love." The Friendship Circle has given Conner so many opportunities regardless of any challenges he may have. They give Conner the opportunity to socialize and make friends with other children and local teen volunteers. He comes home feeling confident, happy and accepted by the community.
Brennan has been able to participate in a program for the past 2 years as well and she loved spending quality play time with her big brother.
Each year, The Friendship Circle does an annual 5K walk, the Walk4Friendship, that raises crucial funds and community awareness for the organization - a non-profit organization for individuals with special needs. The event begins with an opening ceremony, followed by a 5K or 1 mile family walk (your choice!). At the end of the walk, there is a huge celebration with child friendly entertainment, activities, food and much more. In honor of Conner and all the other kids with special needs, our family is walking in this inclusive family fun event.
This year, the event will be held on Sunday, September 6 and our family is committed to raising $1800 and we need your help. A few years ago, we had over 50 walkers on our team and we would love to have that much support again this year.
There are several ways for you to help:
1) Make a donation to The Friendship Circle through this link:
2) Join our team and walk with us on the day of the event if you happen to be visiting the Detroit area over Labor Day weekend!:
3) Conner will be hosting MANY lemonade stands and bottle/can drives over the next few months so look out for him on our corner!
Please support us as we fundraise to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs and their families.
Thank you in advance for your generosity. Feel free to pass along my letter to your family and friends and pass on the event information.
Stacy and David Larson