Cowichan United Way supports little ‘Marios’

My name is Leah and my son Zander is witty, charming and one of the sweetest boys you will ever meet.

He was born a few weeks early, but still weighted in at a healthy 8 lbs, 2 ounces. He began life full of energy – though when he was small, I noticed that lights bothered his eyes. One day I picked him up from daycare and he ran towards a train that was in the front yard. I couldn’t catch him. Our daycare provider said Zander was having a hard time moving from task to task and making eye contact. She suggested we see a doctor and call the Clements Center.

At first I was in denial about needing assistance. However after meeting the staff, I learned how to help Zander. Things like he needs deep pressure to calm him, or to twirl him to stimulate his senses. Zander, too, has learned many coping skills. One of the more unique ones is to go into character as Mario. Shopping was a task I generally avoided as Zander would be overwhelmed by the sights and sounds. Now, he dresses up in complete costume and goes into the Mario character, and he can cope. It is wonderful.

Zander was waitlisted for Asperger’s Syndrome Disorder diagnosis. Shelley at the Centre helped me manage through the many different stages Zander went through. She has been there to listen, and helped me realize that I had to grieve and move forward in a positive way.

You may see little Mario in the store. Feel free to say "Hi Mario". That way my

little Mario will say hi back to you. He gets many smiles when we are out and I appreciate them all.

The Clements Centre runs many excellent programs, and United Way is pleased to highlight how children like Zander are able to get the help they need. If you want to make more little miracles happen, donate today by calling 250-748-1312 or go to visit www.cowichanunitedway.com.

All funds raised in the campaign will go to support programs like these.

Just Posted

Pair of 11-year-old Cowichan highland dancers heading to Virginia for competition

Amelia Marsh and Maya Sundstrom are excited about the possibilities

Chris Wilkinson column: Where are you on the Happiness U-Curve?

With age and maturity, the focus turns away from social competition and toward social connection.

Music trivia tournament in Duncan a hit on World Alzheimer’s Day

More than $13,000 raised by people naming that tune

Drivesmart column: Wet weather driving dos and don’ts

Wet pavement alone can increase stopping distances by more than 10 per cent.

Guest column: Why “Weir” Ready: with James Buchan

This is part two of a feature series by the Cowichan Watershed Board

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Most Read