Nurses for Autism
  • Nurses for Autism Video

    Many of us know a family dealing with autism. Scientists still don't know what causes it, there is no cure and there are thousands of children in the heartland living with the developmental disorder.

    One of our Pay it Forward recipients found a way to help.

    Having four children would keep anyone busy but it's the unpredictability that's hardest for Michaela Newman and her son, Ethan.

    Doctors diagnosed him with autism three years ago and Michaela says, "It's a daily struggle. One day is different than the next. He might have a really, really good day but then he might have a complete meltdown another day."

    Michaela and fellow cardiology nurses at the Nebraska Medical Center set their hearts on making a difference.

    They used the $1,000 Pay it Forward grant for a Wii, digital camera, and other prizes. Anyone with a dollar has a chance to win twice -- first, by snagging a raffle prize and second, by donating to the Autism Society of Nebraska.

    Nurses have a unique way of putting this all in perspective. They've been selling raffle tickets for three weeks. Consider a child is diagnosed with autism about every 20 minutes. That means in three weeks, 1,400 families have been affected.

    That's a powerful motivator for nurses selling raffle tickets floor-by-floor.

    Katina Russ is one of the top sellers.

    She says, "There were so many people willing to give that little dollar but there were a lot that gave $5, $10, even $20 and some didn't even want a ticket -- just did it because it was a good cause. And I think every little bit counts and each one of us can help."

    The $3,800 raised will allow families like the Newmans to network, get resource books, and enjoy special activities.

    Michaela is an officer with the Autism Society of Nebraska. She says the non-profit has no budget, so this fund-raiser will really help. Anyone interested in making a donation can call 552-3790.
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