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We are Simon and Helen Ward and this summer we are taking on the challenge of sailing around the UK, visiting England, Scotland, Wales, Northern and Southern Ireland. Our home for the voyage will be Kairos11, our beautiful Moody 336 sailing yacht. During our trip we aim to raise awareness and funds to support the work of the National Autistic Society, in particular the work of it's helpline which offers advice and support to parents and carers of children and adults who have autism.
Why this charity?
William is our nephew and is severely autistic. Unlike many of the high functioning, very bright autistic people often seen on tv, William is at the other end of the spectrum and at 21 cannot speak, is not fully toilet trained and has times of great anger, frustration and violence - even against his family. Despite this, William is a much loved and very important part of our family and his parents have fought every step of the way to find the best possible care for his needs.
Autism is not a curable condition and as there is often nothing obviously visible to see, it is also often misunderstood by the general population. Bringing up an autistic child is not easy and in many ways it gets even harder as the child becomes an adult, so much stronger and so much more frustration in trying to make sense of our world and us, of theirs. After dealing with another day of head banging, clearing up adult faeces, negotiating with the authorities and trying to reason with the unreasonable, many parents and carers feel at the end of their tether and need help, guidance and support.
According to the National Autistic Society's statistics there are currently 700,000 William's out there, all with support needs and many with parents and carers also requiring support. This is why we are dedicating our trip to all the William's and all those who care for them and hope you will help us support the work of the National Autistic Society in providing the helpline, which is often also a lifeline, for those involved.
You can find out more about the National Autistic Society by clicking on: www.autism.org.ukThe Helpline (0808 800 4104) is open Mon-Thurs 9am-4pm and Fri 9am-3pm.
You can follow our sailing adventure and our fundraising progress on our blog: crazysails.blog (live from 21 May).
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