OK, it's the holidays and despite what some folks may believe, I'm truly a softy at heart. Too much in so many ways.
I'm going to tell you the kind of story that will likely sicken you to your core if you have any humanity left inside. It's also the kind of story we all likely go to WDW to escape from.
But it's also an opportunity. The opportunity to change a child'd life that has been indelibly scarred and make it a bit better. It's the story of a 14-year-old, highly functional autistic boy who was stabbed in both eyes by his aunt Nov. 30. His grandmother, whom he lived with waited over 10 hours to phone for help.
You probably should have read about it, but it didn't get wide play outside of South Florida because well ... the media picks and chooses what stories it decides to tell and how. Anyone who watches FOX News knows this.
But what's important is this boy, who lived with his aunt and grandmother because his parents -- both ride operators at WDW couldn't afford him (I could start ranting about how little WDW pays or cares for its CMs, but I won't) -- will be placed back in their custody because he has nowhere else to go.
This child has no connection to me. Other than his story touched me. Other than the fact that an acquaintance of my mother's was his occupational therapist.
But I'm posting his story below and I'm posting a way you can give something to help this boy.
C'mon, we do have a lot of loaded Republicans here that like to talk about compassion and God and family values (OK, maybe not as much as on the LP but ...) , now's a chance for you all -- and everyone else -- to put some of your WDW trip planning money where your mouths are and help someone in need. You really don't need to stay in O-Town for 10 days next year when nine will be fine.
Oh, yeah, and maybe, just maybe, since we all know TWDC doesn't read any posts here (let alone mine), perhaps the company might be guilted into doing something for this child and his parents as well.
That's my hope.
That's my goal.
I just want to make a positive difference in the life of someone who has been dealt an awful hand in life at a young age.
Anyway, here are some excerpts from the story in today's Sun Sentinel about Alex and what you can do to help in this holiday season:
<<He's out of the hospital and back with his family, but the autistic teen stabbed in both eyes last month stays awake at night in fear of "that lady," the aunt who is accused of assaulting him, his father said.
Edward "Alex" Babington, 14, was released from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami on Tuesday, according to William Babington, 41, the boy's father.
He has been in and out of treatments since Nov. 30, when police say the boy was attacked and a 6-inch blade plunged into his eyes. The case is being investigated and Alex's aunt, Lisa Babington, 40, is in the Broward County jail on a charge of premeditated murder.>>
<<The teen's left eye and his right eye's lens have been removed.
"He's going to be using a special device to help him focus, but as far as seeing 20/20, I can't say that'll ever happen," said William Babington, himself blind in his left eye since childhood.
Alex was sleeping in the Lauderhill home he shares with his aunt and grandmother, Stella Babington, 79, when he was attacked. According to a search warrant: Stella Babington found Lisa hunched over the boy's bed sometime before midnight telling Alex, "This won't hurt, this won't hurt."
Lisa Babington flashed a knife at her mother and said she wouldn't hurt her. She then walked into the kitchen, went on her knees and stabbed herself in the right eye, according to the search warrant.
Almost 10 hours passed before authorities were notified of the incident by Lisa Babington's boyfriend, Jason Willoughby, according to court records. Police say the aunt drove to Willoughby's house after the stabbing with a green towel wrapped around her head.
Calls made to Willoughby's home Thursday were not immediately returned.
The State Attorney's Office is also reviewing the case to see whether the boy's grandmother, who did not immediately call police, should be charged, though Sean Conway, the family's lawyer, says that's unlikely.
"The woman is old and frail. She didn't do much because she couldn't, she was in such shock," Conway said.
Alex will move to Orlando with his father and his mother, Michelle Babington, 37, sometime before Jan. 6. Both parents work at Disney World as ride operators. They plan to continue their son's treatment in South Florida.
"Children with autism process the world around them primarily through sight, so learning and mobility may become more complicated for them when they're blind," said Susan Kabot, director of clinical services at Nova Southeastern University's Mailman Segal Institute, which specializes in autism.
The Babingtons hope to find a school for their son as soon as they return to Orlando, where the couple has lived for almost a decade. According to William Babington, Alex was left in his grandmother's care because children with autism don't react well to extreme changes in their routine.
"He was comfortable in his school and had adapted so well to the area, we couldn't take us with him. That would have devastated him," he said.
Christmas lights hang around Stella Babington's house, where the parents have been staying since the incident.
The family hopes to celebrate the holidays and put 2007 behind them. William Babington's father died in April and the family cat died a few days ago.
"This is so heinous, I can't believe she would do it, but she did," William Babington said of his sister. "I may eventually forgive her, but not right now, it's too soon.">>
The story speaks for itself.
Here's how you can help:
<<A special fund was set up by The Association for Retarded Citizens -- a national organization with a Broward County branch -- for Edward "Alex" Babington through SunTrust Bank. "There's been so much interest in this case, people asking how they could help the family, that we figured this was the best way to go about it," said Sean Conway, the family's lawyer, who helped establish the fund. Money raised will go toward Alex's medical treatments. Anyone interested in donating to the trust fund for Alex can call the ARC at 305-759-8500. >>
Thanks for reading.
And Happy Holidays!