Tuesday, February 26, 2008

FEAT-BC “Campaign Kick-off Rally”: Sunday, March 2, 2008

February 27, 2008

For Immediate Release

FEAT-BC “Campaign Kick-off Rally”: Sunday, March 2, 2008

Vancouver, BC: - FEAT-BC [Families for Early Autism Treatment in BC] today announced it will be holding a “campaign kick-off rally” on Sunday, March 2, 2008, beginning at 2:00pm, at the Jack Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, 6450 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby. This rally launches the FEAT-BC goes coastal campaign, aimed at influencing the electoral outcome in more than a dozen targeted constituencies across Canada in the upcoming federal general election.

“ In its Auton decision, the Supreme Court of Canada told parents of autistic children to ‘get political’ if they wanted to see their children no longer be orphans of the Medicare system,”states Jean Lewis, a founding director of FEAT-BC. “Well, we’re taking the judiciary at their word and launching a nation-wide campaign to elect MPs, regardless of which political party holds office following the next election, who will vote for legislation that enshrines the treatment of autism under Medicare because it is the morally and economically correct thing to do.”

The rally is intended to attract parents of autistic children and their supporters from across Metro Vancouver. Its aim is to ignite a grassroots campaign that will help elect candidates for Parliament who will support Medicare for Autism Now!

“As a Canadian who does not have an autistic child, but who believes strongly in the fundamental values of this country, I am disgusted by the federal government’s willful indifference to the plight of these children and their families,” says Scott Hean, who will be master of ceremonies at the rally.

For further information, contact: Jean Lewis at 604-925-4401 or 604-290-5737, and jean.lewis@telus.net.

Autism Treatment is "our children's right and our solemn obligation."

By David and Barbara McLeod (Mcleod) on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 - 1:49 pm:

Hi Everyone,

Please do plan on attending Sunday's rally. A while ago there was a question about the rally being 'preaching to the choir'. Please know that the choir is going to include media who will get our message out to a far wider range of folks than a sign held up on a bridge or overpass. As well, attending an event with many others who believe in what we are doing, who live everyday with the same issues as we do and who are prepared to stand up and be counted, is both encouraging and motivating.

For many of us, who have been at this for more than ten years now, the support of other families gave us the courage to look for real treatment rather than respite for our kids. When we risked financial ruin to provide that treatment, to fight the government in court for funding and for ABA access in schools, it was families standing together against bureaucracy and status quo. When we had to fight for every consideration, there was more fire in our bellies. By providing some money to families, the government has managed to buy the silence of many. It will take that original 'pioneer' resolve, commitment and passion to maintain the fight for Medicare for Autism Treatment.

As previous posts have so eloquently stated - it is time to put aside our treatment debates, see the 'choice' options of government for what they are and stand together for Medicare for Autism Treatment.

Come and hear from some of the many committed professionals and parents who continue to fight access to treatment for all children regardless of parents' ability to pay. Bring your neighbors and friends who signed the petitions we sent to so many MPs that motivated the National Autism Strategy Bill.

Autism Treatment is "our children's right and our solemn obligation."

See you there!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Stefan Marinoiu meets Federal Health Minister Tony Clement

The metal plate in his left foot is bothering him, and the blizzards Stefan Marinoiu has walked through have left him with frozen fingertips. But as he makes his way toward Ottawa to raise awareness about autism, the 49-year-old said the only thing on his mind is his 15-year-old son.

Unplanned, and out of exasperation, Marinoiu left his Toronto home Jan. 31 embarking on a 450 kilometre walk to "plead with the politicians" that it is time for a national autism strategy. "Having an autistic child is like having a present and not being able to unwrap it," Marinoiu said. "I have been silent for 15 years.

All the stress, all the pain, no resources, I said I gotta do something and I just walked out the door." His pace has slowed since he left without telling his wife where he was going, and at times, he said blinding snow has left him unable to see the road. The Ontario Provincial Police, who stopped him the first night for walking illegally on the highway, have kept an eye out for him, picking him up several times and driving him into the nearest community. "They told me I was gonna freeze to death," he said. "It has been so cold you feel like you are going to die the next second but I take the next step. I am walking for all the tens of thousands who are like my son. No matter what, I am going to accomplish this."

Though he can't point to one event that triggered his march, he said his son Simon's needs have grown increasingly difficult to meet. Simon waited on a list for Applied Behaviour Analysis, an intensive treatment for autistic children but turned seven, the cut-off age, before reaching the top of the list, Marinoiu said. "My son, he can't speak but I know he feels so much," Marinoiu said. " He needs help to be able to function and communicate. We have all the love to give him but we need more resources." Without money or a cell phone, the part-time delivery man has relied on benevolent strangers for help along his trek.

One night he slept in a homeless shelter, another in a church. Locals have anonymously paid for hotel rooms while others have stopped along the highway to bring him food. His daughter's Facebook group, started after he called home from a borrowed phone, now has more than 1,400 members. Marinoiu hoped to be in Ottawa Monday where Senator Jim Munson said he would be there to welcome him. Others from Ottawa with autistic children have also been organizing online to greet Marinoiu when he arrives. (The Ottawa Citizen - Feb 11,2008)

Following his meeting with Federal Health Minister Tony Clement, Stefan Marinoiu said, "It's hard to do great things with small people."

"Medicare for Autism - NOW!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Medicare for Autism Now!" Rally

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Shadbolt Centre for the Arts
6450 Deer Lake Avenue

Why should you attend?

Despite a decade of lobbying, collaborating and litigating – autism treatment is still excluded from our universal health care system. Canadian families are still bankrupting themselves in order to provide treatment for their autistic children.

The current and limited funding provided through the provincial government’s social services ministries could evaporate tomorrow with the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen. No legislation exists within these ministries to protect or enshrine our children’s medically necessary treatment.

In 30 years of "advocacy", the only two initiatives which have achieved ANY success for our children and families has been
litigation, and more recently, focused political action. Both were brought by the members of FEAT of BC – a 100% volunteer organization.

Autism is an epidemic of staggering proportions, it now afflicts one in every 150 children in North America, one in every 94 boys. It is time for the Federal Government to act! We need to let those who govern and those who wish to govern that they are going to be held accountable at the ballot box in the next federal election.

Who should attend?

You - and every fair-minded Canadian you know!

Children with autism suffer from political indifference. It will take the sustained energy and dedication of EVERY CANADIAN who desires a just society to correct this injustice. For our children’s sakes, and the sake of future generations, we urge you to attend this rally.

Please bring friends, family, anyone and everyone you know who is appalled by the gross injustice done to our children every day by the governments of Canada and its provinces.

Featured speakers will include:

Dr. Sabrina Freeman – Executive Director, FEAT of BC and parent

Jean Lewis – Director, FEAT of BC and parent

David Chan – Director, Autism Society of BC, FEAT of BC and parent

Dubravka Skrijelj – FEAT of BC member and parent

Dr. Glen Davies – Clinical Director - ABLE Developmental Clinic

Beverley Sharpe – FEAT of BC member and parent

Louise Witt – Director, Autism Society of BC, FEAT of BC and parent

David Marley – FEAT of BC member and Political Strategist

Please RSVP to www. featbc.org and forward this notice to anyone you think will be interested.

FEAT of BC: "To see justice is done"