Michigan resident Katey Meisner didn't want to just make her home Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness Month - She wanted her whole neighborhood to go blue. During a trip to Home Depot Meisner purchased every blue Autism Speaks light bulb in the store. Her story was recently featured in The Detroit News.
“I decided to do something special for my son, Kyle, who was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism before his second birthday,” she said. “I wanted to do more than raise money; I wanted to talk to my neighbors and get their support while documenting our love, hope and support for Kyle.”
With Kyle and his sister, Mae, in tow, Meisner went up to 33 doors in her neighborhood and asked each family to put a light up for her three-year-old son.
“Not a single person declined,” she said. “In fact, a couple neighbors asked if I could come in and talk to them about autism. They asked about his symptoms and how they should approach him should they see him outside playing in the yard this summer. They were all so interested and incredibly empathetic. I was truly moved to tears.”
Meisner and her husband, Freddie, decided to make an event of Autism Awareness Day. She made T-shirts for the whole family, including Kyle’s 20-month-old sister Mae.
“Mae’s not even two-years-old and she has proven to be one of Kyle’s biggest supporters. The two are inseparable. It has been a surprising and beautiful friendship to watch unfold, especially considering the nature of Kyle’s condition.”
The Meisners invited their closest family members over for a party on April 2, Autism Awareness Day.
“It might seem strange to celebrate a condition that some may grieve, but it is a celebration of Kyle’s life. It is a celebration of who his is and of all the people who have supported us through this journey. I intend to make a scrapbook that he can treasure forever. No matter what Kyle’s future holds, our sweet little boy will know our love forever.”
As guests left the Meisner home that evening, the neighborhood was lit up electric blue.
“My dad called me when he got home and said, ‘Kate, you and Freddie have to go for a drive and see. It’s amazing.’”
Katey had passed out 33 bulbs, but several neighbors had gone out to purchase more so they could light up every porch light on their home.
“This was about Kyle and every exceptional child like him,” Meisner said. “As the number of people afflicted grows, our community requires a better understanding of the condition. Parents need to talk to their children about other children with autism. Those with autism may display symptoms that aren’t socially acceptable, but they have incredible gifts to share with the world. Time, patience and empathy are all I ask for my dear son, Kyle, and all the other extraordinary people living with autism.”