Inclusion Foothills received a significant donation on Friday, thanks to 100 Women Who Care Foothills.

The $8925 donation is the biggest in the local 100 Women group's history.

Kathy Thornhill, Volunteer Board President and the 100 Women members who nominated Inclusion Foothills to be this month's recipient, says Inclusion has done immeasurable good for her and her son, who was diagnosed with autism as an infant.

"Back at the beginning, I was told that my son would likely never talk, never attend mainstream school, never have genuine friendships, and likely never understand the genuine meaning of love and affection."

A family support worker visited the Thornhill home in December of 2008, and instantly became a lifeline for accessing vital services.

Her son has since been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD.

Kathy says though each diagnosis has had a profound effect on her and her family, she's learned how to advocate for her son and to provide him with the supports he needs.

"Today, my son is almost 15, he talks up a storm, he attended mainstream school like his big sister, he has genuine friendships, and he most definitely understands genuine love and affection. Although amongst other things, his reading comprehension remains a challenge, he is able to write video gaming code at about a first-year university level. I believe in my son's potential, and I could see possibilities for him, but I needed to be taught how to access that potential."

Orvella Small, Executive Director for Inclusion Foothills, says she's hoping to restart the Sibshops program.

"It's a program for siblings to come together, get to know each other, and just to find out that they're not alone in their journey of having a sibling with special needs. We're going to get back to doing that, and hopefully get that program running that we had to cancel."

She says the donation is especially significant since Inclusion has had to cancel many of their annual fundraising events.

The one event they were able to hold was done before COVID-19 impacted the province, which raised $4000.

For more information on 100 Women Who Care Foothills, click here.

For more information on Inclusion Foothills, click here.


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