Murrayville’s Sherry Saran said her family felt “lost” when her eight-year-old son Ethan was diagnosed with autism four years ago.
“We didn’t know what direction we’re supposed to take. Truthfully, we mourned the fact we wouldn’t have what society would call a ‘normal child.’ We just didn’t know how to cope,” she added.
Saran described Ethan as “super outgoing, super bright, and extremely social.”
In the four years since Ethan’s diagnoses, Saran, her husband Shawn, and 13-year-old daughter Emma have adapted to the changes that Ethan needs such as finding school support, navigating Ethan’s sensory issues, and getting a support dog.
Saran said initially, she didn’t feel as if she could speak openly about Ethan’s autism, but now, she’s ready to raise awareness.
On Sunday, March 31, Saran is hosting a bottle drive to raise money for the Canucks Autism Network, prior to World Autism Awareness Day on Tuesday, April 2.
“I’m finally coming to where I can talk about it without losing my mind,” Saran added.
Saran said her fundraiser has been supported by her fellow employees at Remax Treeland Realty.
Once she began talking more about Ethan’s autism, Saran said she was surprised by “humanity.”
“We always think if we talk about it, people will look at you, or look at your son differently. But that is so far from the truth. People are very giving, [and] caring. People aren’t as bad as you sometimes think they would be.”
The bottle drive is more than just a drop-off, as Murrayville firefighters will be there with their firetruck, hot-dogs will be served, and BC Lions tickets will be raffled off.
“Don’t feel like you can’t openly speak about it,” Saran advised families who may be going through a similar situation.
“The more you talk about it, the more resources you find out about that are available to you.”
The bottle drive is on Sunday, March 31 from 12 to 4 p.m. at the Arthur Rose Park in Murrayville.
For those wanting to donate, but cannot make it to the event, call 778-322-7696 to organize for a donation pick-up.