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Give the Gift of Hope

By Christine Vara

Each year, as I celebrate the holidays with my family, I am grateful for the many blessings in my life.   Throughout the course of the year, our family makes an effort to share our good fortune with others.  Whether this involves sorting food at the local pantry, shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor, delivering clothes and toys to children in need, or helping out at church, there are countless ways that our family has found to give of our time, our talent and even our treasures. 

This year, in particular, I am especially grateful for the new perspective I have gained while contributing to this blog.  While I set out to share my journey into the world of immunizations, I have received so much in return.  First, I have received a great deal of understanding from people who support my belief that immunizations promote good health.  Likewise, I have tried to exercise understanding when I’m verbally attacked by those who do not support my beliefs.  But what has impacted me the most, as I read through comments both on this blog and on the Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page, is the fact that there is a great deal of distrust, bitterness and despair amongst some of our readers.  It concerns me, and yet it also motivates me. 

In the face of this despair, I hope to focus on the hope.  Hope that we, as a community, can work on supporting one another in the interest of better health.  We can try to listen.  We can try to understand.  But we can also support research that will help to provide answers. 

Through my involvement with Shot of Prevention this year, I have  been privileged to learn more about an organization called the Autism Science Foundation.   Their dedication and commitment to autism research continues to impress me and their current Recipe4Hope campaign has inspired me.

Having several family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers who are impacted by autism, either by working with autistic children or caring for autistic family members, it is easy to recognize the need for more scientific research that can positively impact the lives of those living with autism and those who care for them.  TheRecipe4Hope campaign is a year-end effort to raise funds in  support of innovative scientific research that will hopefully lead to a greater understanding of what causes autism and how it can best be treated.

Personally, I believe that we can accomplish great things together, which is why I have chosen to contribute to this campaign.  Now, before the year ends, I invite everyone to join me and many others in this special effort.   You can make a tax-deductible gift to help the Autism Science Foundation reach their fundraising goal by going to http://www.recipe4hope.org/ by December 31. Every dollar donated by year’s end will go directly to autism research. Join me in this cause and let’s give the gift of hope:  a gift that can last a lifetime.

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