Alicia’s journey. As Alicia progressed through childhood, we started to realize that she had difficulties with certain things. We went through numerous doctors and different medications before finally coming to a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. While she was very high functioning, we always wondered if she would be able to live on her own. We came to the conclusion that she would always live with us, and I was OK with that.
The last 6 years have been a whirlwind of ups and downs for our family. In 2011 my wife Terri, Alicia’s mom, was diagnosed with Leukemia and all of our time and energy was devoted to saving her life. This was difficult for all of us and especially for Alicia as we tried to balance her needs with Terri’s. There was talk during the initial diagnosis of Terri needing a bone marrow transplant, so the physicians turned to the national bone marrow registry. Unfortunately nobody was a match and the prognosis looked grim. Miraculously, Terri beat it without the transplant and is still in remission! During all of this, the bone marrow donation registry became our families passion, so all of us signed up on Be the Match. Little did we know that our special “aspie kid” was going to be the one that was a perfect match for somebody! All we knew was that the patient was a 54 year old woman, we had no idea who she was or where she lived. Undergoing an invasive medical procedure to help an anonymous stranger might be a little bit too much for even a typical person to handle, but Alicia consented to donate without hesitation! I have never been so proud of her as I was in that moment. I am sharing this portion of Alicia’s story because it was a major milestone in her life, and simply because I am so very impressed by her courage and selflessness. (And a dad has to brag about his kids a little!)
When we first heard about Noah’s Landing we were interested but we figured it would be a way down the road. We weren’t in a big hurry. An opportunity for a tour came up and we decided to go on it. Well, that was it. Alicia fell in love with the place, as did we. We were told that it was filling up fast so we decided we weren’t going to wait, we were going to get on the ball and try to get in. From the day Alicia moved in, she has been at home. She never wants to leave, it’s hard to get her to come home even for a weekend. She has made wonderful friends and is part of a big family. We are watching her flourish and gain independence in ways we never thought possible. The unforeseen added bonus was the extended family that WE have gained in the process. I expected Alicia to get something out of this experience. What I didn’t expect was how much WE would get of out it. We wouldn’t change it for the world. We love our Noah’s Ark family!