Dream of becoming a hockey mom finally comes true for parent of child with autism

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Image: Kids playing hockey at CAN

Since its inception in 2008, the Canucks Autism Network (CAN) has provided community level support to B.C. families living with autism. CAN’s high quality, adapted sports, recreation, social and arts programs are designed to accommodate children, teens and young adults across the autism spectrum, who can experience varying degrees of difficulties with social communication and behaviour.

Families living with autism can access the majority of CAN’s high quality, adaptive programs for only $25 per ASD individual per year thanks to the generosity of donors and sponsors. CAN currently serves over 2,000 families across the province and continues to welcome hundreds of new families each year. One such family has been particularly impacted by the Canucks Autism Network.

Karen Owen is a mother of three boys, Nicholas, Oliver, and Alexander, two of whom have autism. When she and her husband got the first diagnosis, she found herself letting go of many dreams she had for her son, Oliver. She came to terms with the fact that he would not have a typical childhood and that she would likely never be a hockey mom. At that time, her youngest, Alexander, had not yet been diagnosed.

Soon after, the Owen family found CAN.

Over the years, the Owen boys have benefited from various CAN programs including soccer, skating, and swimming but it wasn’t until the hockey program was introduced that Karen truly felt her dreams becoming a reality. She remembers the exact moment she received the call confirming that her son had made the CAN hockey team. Flooded with tears, she immediately called her husband telling him he was going to be a hockey dad. One of the best calls of her life.

It is only due to the generosity of donors, sponsors and community members that such calls can take place. The prevalence of autism has increased dramatically in recent years, to one in 68 children in North America and more than 10,000 in B.C. This drastic escalation has caused an influx in the demand for CAN’s high quality programs, but support has yet to catch up.

On Thursday, September 24, CAN will take a determined step into the spotlight by presenting the Reveal Gala, an event designed to raise awareness, funding and other support vital to helping the charity meet the needs of a growing number of families facing autism.

In a rare move, the surface of Rogers Arena will be transformed into an intimate gala venue for just 500 guests. Canadian broadcasting personality and Hockey Night in Canada host George Stroumboulopoulos will take the lead as emcee with Olympic Gold Medalist and Amazing Race Canada host Jon Montgomery as auctioneer. The Reveal Gala also promises key representation from Vancouver Canucks players and management, exclusive auction items, and a host of surprise reveals throughout the course of the evening.

Reveal Gala

When: September 24, 2015

Where: Rogers Area

For tax receipt information, sponsorship opportunities, and to reserve your seats online, please visitcanucksautism.ca/reveal.

Vancity Buzz is a proud media sponsor of Reveal Gala.

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Harpreet Shergill is the Community Manager at Vancity Buzz and your guide for community events.
@HarpShergill

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