Saturday, May 19, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me, What I Have Learned in the Last 12 Months

If everything had worked out the way I wanted, today would be the big day. Not just my 40th Birthday, but the 40 mile run. I'm writing this at 10:30 am so I would be about 4 1/2 hours into it and would probably be about 10-15 miles along my path. But if life has taught me one thing, it rarely goes as planned. On a positive note, I am going to watch the Orioles play the Nationals in DC tonight with my daughter. It will be her first time there and it will be a lot of fun for both of us. I am still dealing with headaches from the concussion but they seem to be slowly improving. I met with a chiropractor last week and that seemed to help and I am meeting with a neurologist tomorrow and have a follow up chiropractor visit as well. So what does all of this have to do with Autism......

When I set out last year, I wanted to get back in shape, raise money to support families dealing with Autism in Maryland and raise Autism awareness. Before the accident,I had lost just over 40 pounds. Today I can say I have lost 22 pounds one year later. Once I can start training again, that will become my primary focus. So far, the campaign has raised just under $11,000.00 which includes an approximate $600 from the Birthday bash on Memorial day weekend. I will be kicking off another social media campaign Monday that should raise another $400 in the next 30 days, so we should be well over the $11k mark by the end of June. I have fallen short of my goals but I have done quite a bit of good. My last blog post was a copy of my presentation at the Pathfinders for Autism Golf Dinner on Monday night. I had numerous people tell me that my story touched them. The ladies at Pathfinders told me the live auction held immediately after my speech raised 3xs the money it had any year before and they think what I said had something to do with it.

If that is true. Then EVERYTHING I went through this year was worth it.

Thanks for reading, Together we can do great Things

Mike S.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Being a Parent of a Child with Autism and What "Pathfinders For Autism" Has Meant to Me."

Last night was pretty special. I had the opportunity to speak in front of about 100 people and talk about being the parent of a child with autism and how the wonderful people at Pathfinders for Autism have impacted my life. As a result of my relationship with Pathfinders I have become friends with Alisa Rock, fellow autism parent, autism blogger and she is a board member for Pathfinders. Last night she suggested that I share a copy of the speech I prepared. While not exactly what I said (I did use some creative license) this captures the spirit of what I shared with the audience.

When Rebecca first asked me to speak today she told me that many of you are longtime supporters and that many of you are not parents of children with autism. To you I am truly grateful. You have given a tremendous amount of your time and money to an organization that means a great deal to me and to people just like me. It is hard to articulate what being the parent of a child with autism is like but my wife and I often say “ if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.” Let me be clear… I love my son with all my heart. He looks exactly like my wife and I always imagined he would. Mikey has a mop of blond hair with big sparkling blue eyes and he laughs like an elf from one of those Christmas cartoons we all watched as children. But his Autism is something that we never expected and it wears on me every day… the center for disease control told us recently that 1-88 children will be born with Autism and that for some reason, in the state of Maryland, that number jumps to 1 in 55. ASD or “autism spectrum disorder” is so frustrating, not only for the parents, but for those trying to solve it. The Puzzle piece really is appropriate. No one knows what causes it, but they have some ideas. No one knows how to treat it, but they have some ideas. Some things help some kids but not others. The disruption to your regular life is incalculable. Simple every day routines like shopping or going to the park are now “adventures” at best and can often turn into nightmares. My wife and I have another term we use, divide and Conquer. That’s where we each take a child to accomplish the necessary and typical aspects of our life. Mikey has a big sister and she has a life too and frankly she deserves to live it like a typical child. So we go out of our way to allow her to live it that way. But that means that her brother doesn’t get to attend her basketball games because the noise and the activity would be too much for him and he wont get to attend her concert tomorrow night because he just CANNOT be quiet for the 90 minutes the performance will take.

And that is why I am grateful for Pathfinders for Autism. For in addition to the vast resources they offer on their website I know these ladies work their butts off (usually seven days a week) providing seminars on every topic of need and interest to families like mine. But more importantly, Last summer they created an environment where my family felt safe to have dinner together in public without the scrutiny of others watching us. They allowed us to take our family to a baseball game and to eat ice cream and be together as a family. When you have child with Autism, it is very easy to draw inside and feel alone. because of Pathfinders, I feel a lot less lonely. I’ve made friends through this organization that I am sure will last a lifetime. So again, I ‘ll say thank you to each one of you for being here today and supporting this wonderful organization, I am truly grateful.

Afterwards, I had many people thank me and congratulate me for my presentation including BJ and Polly. That meant more to me than words can describe. Everyone in that room was giving something to make the world better for families dealing with Autism and that really is the point of all of this.....

Thank you for reading, together we can do great things!


BTW I hope to see all of you at Camden Yards on May 27th, still some time to get your tickets, click here 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Autism Awareness at Camden Yards

Hi Everyone, I  know it has been a long time since my last post. I have been working with some new found friends in the Autism Community to create my BIGGEST event yet. on Sunday May 27th we will be hosting a Bullpen Party and baseball game. Oriole Park at Camden Yards is one of my favorite places in the world and I cannot wait to share this special day with you. I have 200 tickets to sell. So please bring your families. If your company is interested in Sponsorship let me know and we can add you to all future promotion. I will need your help to make this event a true success, so please spread the word. All the profits will go towards my fundraising campaign for Pathfinders for Autism. The more sponsors I pick up the more money will go to Pathfinders. All the details are below including and online link to purchase tickets. Special thank you my friend Glenn Carr for making this a reality, see you "at the Yard!"

Thank you, together we can do great things!
Mike S.

Get your tickets Here!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

French Fries, Toast & Peanut Butter

The funny thing about Autism is it really seems to effect your appetite. In our house, we go through a lot of French fries, peanut butter, gluten free toast, Stax potato crisps and fruit snacks. And when he's feeling fancy, we throw in some Steak-ums. Short list, I know. One of the big challenges to sensory issues is just that, sensory. Mikey doesn't have trouble with bright lights and loud noises don't seem to bother him more than they do any one else. But noisy places overwhelm him. The sensory must be at the root of the food. With the exception of the fruit snacks, just about everything Mikey eats is some shade of brown or tan.

When I tell people about Mikey and his Autism I often get feedback like "he seems fine." Sure in small doses Mikey can be anywhere from tolerable to down right lovable. But imagine for a moment that you knew beyond a doubt that giving your kid Pizza, or Mac and Cheese or Chocolate would make your kid vomit. Now compound that with the knowledge that he absolutely loves these things most of them have no good alternative. Now you have a glimpse into our world.
I haven't blogged much lately because of the new job and the mental drain that has put on me. I am hoping to get back into the swing of things. Have not started training again yet, I have to take that day by day. Frankly I am terrified to try anything like that again. The last time gave me headaches for days.

On a positive note, we did finally break $10,000.00 in donations. Also, one of my new Autism buddies ( were kinda like a secret society without the decoder rings) is helping me plan a huge event at Camden Yards for Memorial day weekend. Don't worry I will have that official announcement along with how to buy tickets soon enough.

For now, thank you all for reading this and sharing in our journey. I have some T-shirts left if anyone wants to buy one and if you just feel like kicking in $20 please use the link on this blog page.

See you all next week!

Mike S.

BTW, if reading this made you laugh, then you get it.

Friday, February 3, 2012

An Important Update about the 40 Miles for Autism fundraiser

Hi Everybody, thank you for stopping by today. I mentioned in a previous post that I was in a car accident in early November 2011. My car was destroyed but my personal injuries were minor..... Sorta. About 6 weeks after the accident it is discovered that I have a mild concussion. It gave me terrible headaches anytime I would read or use the computer. Since those are two key elements of my job it made being productive at work a real challenge. In the last couple weeks those side effects finally began to subside and I started to feel "normal" again. Last weekend I decided to have a mild & short term trip on the treadmill. I only did 20 minutes and I kept it under 4 mph. The next day the headaches returned. When I met with my therapist on Tuesday I told her what happened and she informed me that even 20 minutes at such a low speed was "overdoing it" for someone in my condition. She recommended I hold off on anything else until Thursday or Friday and then It would be no more than 5 minutes and no more than a normal walking pace. After a week of that I could increase by one minute but not the speed. She then informed me that I really should avoid strenuous exercise for another 4-6 months.

In other words, I cannot begin to train again for my run in May until June or July at the soonest. So I have decided to move the Run from May 19th to October 20th. This way I should be all healed up and can fully prepare myself for the 40 mile run.

The good news to come out of this is I will have more time to hit my $40k goal and I can schedule more fun events to meet people and raise awareness. Not really the plan I was going for, but I intend to make the best of this otherwise frustrating situation.

So spread the Word! The run has been moved to October. BTW, I still have T-shirts for sales in XL and XXL for $25 including shipping. I seem to be stuck at the $10k mark ( just under it actually) so I really do need everyone's help to hit my goal. Please post , re post, share, tweet and even print this out and leave it in the break room at your office.

Thank you, Together we can do great things!

Mike S.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Just shy of $10,000 for my $40,000 goal

Hi Everybody, sorry I have not been updating as much as I should. The last official report showed donations at $9,914.82 I really would like to break $10k today so any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. For health reason I had to stop my running  regiment, but I hope to be back on track in the next 30 days. Pathfinders for Autism held a fantastic FREE event at the Baltimore Aquarium last weekend and that is just one example of the many things those ladies do to support the families in the Maryland community dealing with the daily challenges of Autism. Those 4 women work their butts off (24/7 it often seems) not because of the money they earn, but because they truly love what they do and believe in the cause. I know most of them have children with Autism so this is personal for them.
As the parent of an autistic child I know how helpless you can sometimes feel. Pathfinders for Autism goes out of their way to help families just like mine and yours. All of the donation information is on the side of the blog. you can mail in a check or you can click the "donate here" link on the right hand side and pay with a credit or debit card. I had the good fortune to be on a local radio show this past week and talk about Autism, my campaign and Pathfinders.

You can go to and click on the "on demand" link. then select "the Carroll County Buzz" from 1-11-12 to listen to the interview. its about 30 minutes long. Steve Aquino and Charlie Wolpoff have been great supporters in my community and we gracious enough to have me on their show to talk about this. Thanks guys, you are the best.

Stay tuned as I am gearing up for some great new events in 2012!

Thanks, together we can do great things


click here to listen to my radio interview from 1-11-12