Karen Isik, a Virginia resident whose 12-year-old son Lucas has autism, has developed a unique method of covering the cost of her son’s educational needs and raising money for the Faison Center, the Richmond-based school and center where her son is enrolled.
According to a report this month by WTVR.com, Isik created “Cuddle Up for a Cause,” which involves handcrafting pillows and blankets with Lucas’s help. Isik is a single parent with medical and school bills, so the initiative was a constructive way to help cover those expenses. Isik said that 90 percent of the proceeds go to Lucas and his services, his school, and equipment he needs, while the other 10 percent is donated to the autism society of central Virginia.
Lucas has overcome many challenges throughout his life. When he was born, Isik was told her son would suffer from a host of disabilities, including never being able to speak or engage in appropriate social behavior. Lucas seemed to defy this bleak assessment until 2007, when his condition changed for the worse.
“It felt like a light switch, like something you clicked right off,” Isik said, adding that she never expected autism as her son’s diagnosis.
Lucas’s teachers at the Faison School say he has made significant strides since he first started there.
“When Lucas first came to us, he engaged in a lot more of those unsafe behaviors,” Lucas teacher, Rachel Matthews, said. “You saw him out there saying spin. We've been working on that a long time, and he's made fantastic progress being able to ask for us to spin him because he used to say stop."
While raising a child with autism presents challenges, Isik said she is not looking for pity, and appreciates her son for who he is.
“I believe when it comes to Autism Awareness and just Autism Acceptance, I'm not looking for pity or their sorrow, I'm not sorry for the way life has turned out with Lucas,” Isik was quoted as saying. “It's a great life, it's completely unique.”