My name is Rosa Quintero and every year I vow to raise money towards Autism related causes in the name of my daughter Alexandra Guzman.
I was sitting on the living room floor with my daughter, Alex, when the 5th therapist I saw told me she would be diagnosed with PDD/NOS (Pervasive Developmental Not Otherwise Specified), a mild form of Autism.
I could never forget the day, June 25, 2011. My world ended. I cried and cried because I thought, “I must have done something wrong, I’m a bad mother.”
As time went on, I realized that I did nothing wrong, but just something that happened. After my realization, I vowed to NEVER let Alexandra allow her diagnosis to define her. Autism is not who she is, but simply a part of what makes her amazing. From that moment on #TeamAlex was born.
When Alex was first diagnosed she couldn’t talk to or look at me, express her feelings, and had difficulty being around other children or large groups of people. Back then, she received over 10hrs of therapy a day including ABA, PT, OT, and Speech (Applied Behavior Analysis, Physical therapy and Occupational therapy). Thankfully, with the help of therapists and Alex’s hard work, she is now only receiving OT and speech!
Alex has been fortunate enough to get the help that she needs, but there are many families out there that have a tough time acquiring what they need for their child. Sure there are programs and grants, but they can be extremely lengthy processes that take too long for the child involved.
I’m always asked, “Why don’t you keep the money for Alex?”
As a mother of a child with autism, it has exposed me to countless parents. Some are even ashamed or in denial that their child is on the spectrum and it’s so heartbreaking to see.
I always want Alex to know that she is loved and accepted no matter what a piece of paper says. That is why #TeamAlex creates fundraisers every year in support of our princess and all the other prince’s and princesses.
One form of fundraising that I do is to create a custom t-shirt for #TeamAlex to wear for the Annual Autism Speaks walk. People who purchase shirts are not forced to come, but it’s always great when they do because it gives us an opportunity to walk with other families and see all of these kids have a great time.
This is #TeamAlex’s 3rd year raising money for Autism related organizations at the “Bronx Beer Garden.” It’s incredibly gracious of them to donate a portion of their earnings towards our goal. Along with that, every dollar that is raised between shirt sales and our events are given to a specific organization.
The National Autism Association was chosen this year because I know what it feels like not to know where to begin and they are a great resource when it comes to getting help. The NAA has amazing programs, such as The Big Red Safety Box Program but unfortunately funding is limited.
If #TeamAlex can raise enough money to help 30 families get their hands on a Big Red Safety Box, then we are happy 🙂
This year with the help of my good friend Candace Jobson, we organized
Over 15 pieces of art were donated by some very talented artists, who also happen to be our friends. Each piece was raffled off throughout the night to some very lucky individuals. We wanted to create a space where people could come by, take the art in, and have a good time. We hope that people were able to appreciate it.
Johnny Rodriguez, who is also the creator of the Hoops Showdown and good friend, takes time out of his very busy schedule to host and make sure the night runs smoothly and Ms. Jobson, previously mentioned, has been assisting me for two years now and has really shown me what a true friend is. Anyone who has been a part of #TeamAlex or has donated their time/money could have been somewhere else or taken their money elsewhere. It’s a humbling experience when others are willing to contribute towards my vision and ask for nothing in return.
Thank you doesn’t cut it, but it’s what I can do right now. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much to everyone that took part in “The Gallery” this year!
You guys do not know the impact you’ve had on #TeamAlex with you graciousness and love.
#TeamAlex is like my second child. My goal is for it to grow and take it as far as I can, for as long as I can. Next year is a new year with new goals and ideas on how to make this a bigger and better event to raise more money to be able to help more families.