Miami LAC FedEx Team Members Make an Impact with Walk Now for Autism Speaks
On April 7th, 25 FedEx Latin America & Caribbean Division (LAC) team members with their family and friends participated in the Miami Walk Now for Autism Speaks, which included a total of $9,000 contributed by FedEx (including team member donations) toward funding vital autism research. This is the 2nd year FedEx LAC team members have participated in the Miami Walk Now for Autism Speaks, which attracts 25,000 participants annually and is the nation’s largest grassroots autism walk program to raise funds for autism research and increase awareness about the increasing prevalence of autism.
Beyond FedEx’s involvement, two FedEx team members who were the team captains for FedEx’s involvement at the walk, Cesci Oropeza and Andres Rey, have a deeper connection to autism through family members living with autism. In their own words, they share the significance of being involved with Autism Speaks and the impact on their families…
His Family Story – Andres Rey, Field Sales Analyst (LAC)
I was in college when my 3 year old brother, Antonio, was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, on the Autism Spectrum. As my mom was telling me the news, a rush of emotions hit me, because I had no idea what that was, nor what Autism was. I was confused and angry, but also hopeful that something could be done to cure Antonio of what was affecting him. Unfortunately, as I learned more about Autism, I came to the realization that there was not a cure, but there were treatments to help children that were diagnosed with Autism.
As we have grown up together, I have watched as my brother not only began to speak, but I have been able to watch him interact and go to school with children who are not Autistic and it has given me hope that Antonio can one day lead a good life. I also thank him for opening not only my eyes to Autism, but the eyes of my parents, siblings and friends who have grown to know Antonio and know that these children are good kids and all you need to do is give them a chance.
Her Family Story – Cesci E. Oropeza, Marketing Pricing Analyst (LAC)
My son, Daniel Alejandro Oropeza, was diagnosed with Autism in September 2010. That was one of the hardest days of my life because I had no idea what Autism really was or what to do. My son’s daycare recommended me to talk to Fritz who works with Autism Speaks to determine what my next step was going to be. I remember researching like crazy on the internet to learn as much as I could about Autism. I was really overwhelmed and I was thankful for the hotline number they gave me to help answer any questions I might have. I used the number a lot!
Thanks to Autism Speaks my son was enrolled at 3 years old at Baudhuin Preschool, which is funded by Nova University. At Baudhuin, my son slowly started to develop his social skills and slowly started to become more verbal. When Daniel graduated from pre-school, he was enrolled at Coral Cove Elementary Autistic cluster, which is funded by Autism Speaks. Since Daniel started kindergarten in September 2013, he has progressed by leaps and bounds – I never thought I would cry so much as I did the day he got into his first fight with his older sister, she was stunned when he said “No you can’t eat my last cookie!” She happily gave him back his cookie and gave him one of her own. We still can’t believe how much he is talking – he has no problem letting me know when he wants something or when he doesn’t.
Autism Speaks has helped my little boy communicate, not only with me but with the world. I am now the captain for FedEx in LAC to help raise funds for this terrific cause that helps families who live with Autism. They are my hero and this is my way of giving back for all the help and continued support that they give me and my family.