January 16, 2021

Meltdown to hero awards

By rosieweldon

Yesterday I set off to attend the Autism Hero Awards hosted by the Anna Kennedy Online charity.

My journey immediately got derailed (pun intended) as the public transport system began to fail me. I planned my journey carefully around my specific needs. My stepdad was to see me on at Chester, and my brother to collect me from London Euston.

My train was due to leave at 10:35am. After finding my platform at Chester the platform was then changed. I gritted my teeth and made my way to the new platform. I just wanted to get on the train and know I was set to get to my brother. The train was then delayed and due to arrive at 11am. The train arrived and I got on. We were then all kicked off that train and told to get on a connection train to the next stop.

I was bustled along with the crowd and stood on a busy train to Crewe. I had no idea what I was supposed to do once I got to Crewe. When the train pulled up at Crewe the driver instructed us to go to platform eleven and get the train to London. Upon getting off the train I became very overwhelmed at everything changing and not knowing where I was supposed to be going. I headed for platform eleven and saw a huge train. I could hear pieces over the tannoy of which carriages were for which. I began losing control as I paced along the platform, crying and pushing my hands into my head. I was having a full-blown autistic meltdown in the middle of a busy train platform.

A very kind stranger offered me tissues as I tried to regain composure. I then, with my brothers help over phone, decided to hold off chasing the next train and choose one half an hour ahead that I could plan for. I ended up getting onto the train and settled.

That isn’t some crazy one-off story in my life. That’s autistic life as an adult. A life of fighting against the current in a river that keeps knocking you back. It’s exhausting.

But I pushed through all that for a reason. I wanted to attend the Autism Hero Awards, and I am so glad I did.

The awards celebrated siblings, parents and guardians, businesses, teachers, and autistic individuals. I sat in a room filled with people that fight for autistic people. I heard stories of those with the greatest of empathy for the affect autism has. To hear of siblings, like my brother, who stand by their siblings as they fight through life.

The awards are run by Anna Kennedy who has championed autism for many years as her two sons are autistic. The charity, Anna Kennedy Online, does incredible things for those who are autistic and their families, raising awareness and supporting us.

Autism is lonely. Being autistic is waking up to fight through another day, every day. It’s having a meltdown and picking yourself back up to face the world again. It’s being offered tissues by strangers as you try to drill through. The Autism Hero Awards showed me just how many people are in our corner. Fighting beside us, with us, for us. Fighting every day is hard. Knowing there are so many people in our corner, is overwhelmingly heart-warming.

[Update 1st Jan 2020: The below fundraising is no longer active. We did raise £100 and it has been sent to Anna Kennedy Online 🙂 ]

To thank Anna Kennedy Online for everything they do, to be in their corner, as they are in ours, I would love to raise some donations for them. They are a small charity that depend on donations. Donate any amount to say thank you to them and all those who are in our corner. The corner of autistic people and their families. I would love to hit the target of £100.

And to everyone who is fighting for us, with us, beside us, or if you are one of us – I know it’s hard. Let’s support each other and keep going.

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