An Ordinary Family, Autism, Community, Hope, and the Generation we have to Rescue
“My Name is Tanner. My Name is Tanner.” Echoes through my brain every minute of every day. These are the last words my son said after his regression we believe caused by Vaccinations. It was 9:00 AM in our living room in Brooklyn Park Minessota on a bright sunny day July 4 [eight and a half years ago]. The day time stopped for our family.
Tanner spoke, chewed, played, dreamed, shot the basketball and road a bike. That all went away that day. His regression took him backwards to the abilities of a toddler. It changed our lives forever. I hope I can relate our mission to help Tanner, others, educate and search for answers through this blog with Generation Rescue.
One more time for those who do not know our story, I will tell it again. I am not sure why this has been one of the hardest blogs to write. I have penned more than 500 blogs and posts. I have been a little over the top with more than 40,000 posts to twitter. I post mainly as @TannersDad but also have a few other accounts that I manage. I am a simple conservative business owner and older married Dad of a 13 year-old (always eating) named Tanner. He is on the lower functioning end of the spectrum. My wife Cheri and I have been married for 24 years. I have trouble keeping it all together. She is the real Rescue Angel in the partnership. I want to be clear. I am no father of the year.
After a couple of heart attacks and a few job changes, Cheri and I decided to move back to her family farm area to open a wedding planning/flower shop. I did not participate because I had recoiled from life believing I was going to die. All my relatives live overseas. My sister’s family lives in Japan. I have cousins down under in New Zealand and my parents and the rest of my relatives live in the United Kingdom. I was born in Australia. Riding the ups and downs of the economy I have had a number of jobs. Without local family to vent to, I was left with time on my hands, to write and research Internet to find support and answers for myself. I was greedy. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I did not care who listened it was therapy for myself.
That all changed in May of 2009 at the [AutismOne Generation Rescue Conference] in Chicago. I am really kind of shy and I tried to just blend in with the crowds but Kim Stagliano called me out and introduced me to the audience just before she introduced a leader of our community. She said we have a special guest in our audience … @TannersDad is with us this year and she pointed to me. Everyone stood and clapped and I cried. The speaker started to speak and stopped mid sentence and turned and looked at me. She pointed at me and said “You know something you wrote on the Internet stopped me from committing suicide” everyone stood and clapped again. I cried a lot more and my life changed. I now realized I was blogging, writing and advocating for more than just my family.
I am so thankful and excited to have a new blog home with Generation Rescue. I have been thinking, dreaming and praying about this new blog for months. When I sat down to write, I was replaying our story in my mind. I want to be clear from the first day, our story is one that is not unique. I have heard it over and over again from all corners of the world. We are all in this together. Many have blazed the trail before us.
My goal is to support, educate, motivate, entertain, and share. I am an open book to all. I love to collaborate to find new ways to help our loved ones and prevent others from being added to our Fraternity. My passion and reporting will be in the area of wandering, bullying and abuse prevention, fatherhood, families, unity within the community (#UWAC), feelings (Feel Autism Yet? #FAY) and advocacy. I am not afraid of controversy. These are just the ramblings of a man who everyday asks the question with as brave a face as I can What is happening to our children?
Tim Welsh, a.k.a “Tanners Dad” is an autism and vaccine safety advocate.Tim is also a Generation Rescue “Rescue Angel” (a family mentor). Connect with him on twitter - @TannersDad and on Generation Rescue.