Chrissy and Brian welcomed a precious baby girl named Ady into the world in February of 2009. To Chrissy and Brian, she was absolutely perfect, and everyone who met Ady loved Ady. She was such a happy baby! At 17 months, however, her mood changed dramatically. She stopped responding to her name, and transformed from a happy toddler to a very anxious one. During Ady’s transition period, Brian was working to build a business franchise, and his time away gave Chrissy ample opportunity to observe Ady’s behavior and enroll her in therapy. After Ady’s second birthday, Chrissy and Brian were thrilled to learn that Brian would be opening a business in Birmingham, and moved to the city shortly after. 2011 was shaping up to be an exciting year, but in July of 2011, they heard the word that would forever change their lives: autism.
Shocked and confused, Brian and Chrissy were afraid. Only having recently moved, the family knew no one in the city, had launched a brand new business, and now had a precious little girl with autism. For Brian, Ady’s diagnosis felt like the death of a child. The dreams of what he had envisioned – from daddy daughter dances to playing sports – were gone. The fear of the unknown haunted him. For Chrissy, the relief she felt after finally pinpointing her daughters behavior was quickly overtaken by a fear that Ady would never get better. Chrissy knew that she would devote her life to getting her happy little girl back.
Once Brian and Chrissy were able to find the best school for Ady, the financial pressure became unbearable. Brian especially wrestled with the thought of paying college tuition for his two-year-old little girl. Not only did he need to provide for Ady, Brian had two other children and a wife who needed him as well. Having to devote all of her time to caring for Ady, Chrissy traveled with her to various doctors while expenses from the air travel, long drives, and physician visits mounted. Financially and emotionally, both Chrissy and Brian were spent.
Understanding the pressure they faced, in October of 2013, friends of Brian and Chrissy put together a fundraiser for the family, with a goal to raise $7,000. The event ended with almost $30,000 raised! The relief the family felt was indescribable. For the first time in years, they were able to put their boys back in sports, and begin to put their finances back in order. It was then that Brian turned to Chrissy and said “We have to bless others the way we have been blessed.” They knew they had to help other families experience the peace they felt. And that is where Ady’s Army began.
Through Ady’s Army, Brian and Chrissy work to give families of autistic children peace of mind, financial resources, and answers to their questions. They strive to alleviate the fear that families won’t have the means to do enough. In the end, they realized that the journey of caring for a child with autism is impossible to do alone, and their goal is to show other families that they don’t have to do it by themselves. By serving special needs families, Ady’s Army is working together to take care of others, one “piece” and one family at at time.
Learn more about our Mission and Goals.