Stories, comments, insights

Determined to be Resilient

May 13, 2020

Determined to be Resilient

Is isolation starting to wear on you?  Have you found yourself okay one day, and then struggling with new emotions and stress the next?  I know I have – and I’m a positive, happy person by nature!  So, feeling this way is a true struggle for me.  We are living in a time unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. 

I recently joined in on a webinar on the topic of “Resiliency During Isolation.”  The timing was perfect because it talked about how current studies are confirming what many of us are experiencing.  Isolation is taking a terrible toll on people.  It is causing fear, sadness and depression in huge numbers. 

I’m not alone!  In fact, there’s a strong chance that YOU are experiencing this too. The webinar caused a refocus and made me ponder about our families.  “Holy cow!  How are YOU doing???”  What can I do to help families turn the fear, sadness and depression into something that resembles the strong AS community we really are?  How can we DETERMINE to stay positive, stay connected, stay joy-filled?

We were forced to postpone our incredible ASF Walk to September.  Yes, we have to wait to be together again.  And YES, your ASF Walk coordinators can use your love and support right now.  On top of everything, they are scrambling to adjust literally everything that goes into planning fun, family ASF Walk events. 

So, how can we turn all this negative strain and stress into joy and community?  And, can we make it as contagious as COVID-19?

The ASF Walk Coordinators (being the true-genius heroes they really are) have already started showing us the way.  Here are a few things ASF Walk Heroes have already begun doing.  And please know, this is EXACTLY what that the experts are saying needs to happen now!! 


Virtual Magic LessonsA Magical Transformation

The ASF Walk Iowa coordinator and teacher, Julie Staab, is always on the lookout for ways to help her family, others and the ASF. Julie secured a fantastic magician, known all over the tri-state area, to perform for families at the ASF Walk. His name is T.J. Regul.  T.J.’s best friend has a child with AS. Being the beautiful soul that Julie is, she had empathy and compassion for this man who has lost all source of income for his family due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

How did Julie help turn fear and depression to hope and joy?  Virtual Magic Lessons, of course!!  So many parents are hearing “I’m bored” right now as they try to juggle everything in isolation.  Why not offer 30-minute magic lessons to kids/adults!?  They learn a valuable skill – we help a family in real need, AND ASF families are supported every time someone signs up! 

I don’t know about you, but I think this is genius!  Get more information and sign up for a class.


A Squirrely Idea

Squirrel tableThe ASF Walk Colorado Coordinator, Wendy Dickson, is NEVER idle!  If you know her, you realize even that is an understatement!  Wendy was bummed that COVID cancelled her bowling fundraiser for the ASF Walk and may even curtail the golf fundraiser she has planned.  COVID-19 doesn’t stop the Dickson family! 

With the help of her husband, Jeff, the entire family began making squirrel picnic tables.  Yes, you read that right – a picnic table for squirrels!  The whole family is involved and the kids are all learning new skills. 

In less than one week, 100 of them sold in her local community!!  All proceeds are being donated to the ASF.

Now, you too can have a fun “Squirrely table” outside your window!  The Dickson’s are creating kits to easily mail anywhere.  The tables can also be mounted.  Super-fun — Super-cool!  See photos, pricing and order information here.


Free Fun-Day for AS Families

Merlin's Magic Wand logoAlice Evans has been the ASF Walk coordinator in San Diego for many years.  She is the original author of our popular Angelman syndrome A to Z book and has been a committed ASF volunteer for so many different projects!  A fantastic leader and encourager, Alice is always lifting others up – especially when it comes to AS families! 

Alice was able to secure FREE Legoland, Peppa Pig World or Sea Life Aquarium tickets through Merlin’s Magic Wand for San Diego Angelman families.  This year, however, that wasn’t good enough.  Alice’s heart for all our families, especially with the COVID-19 lockdown, continues to shine! 

Alice wanted to help bring happiness to all AS families, so she asked Merlin’s Magic Wand if they would be willing to make free tickets available to families across the country.  They said “Yes” and Alice is now coordinating a country-wide free ticket give-away for all our AS families! 

Find out more and sign up for your tickets before June 1st!


We ALL need to connect during this time of extended isolation.  We all need a little joy, fun and sense of community – now.  I love to see these leaders taking action with such a great attitude of joy! The stories of DETERMINATION from our ASF Walk Heroes gives me inspiration, and I hope you feel it too! 

DETERMINATION is the perfect word for this community of AS families!  Let’s lift each other up.  Let’s refocus on what we can do to defeat the isolation and fear that causes depression. 

Here are some other creative, community-sparking ideas to think about.   

Illuminating Idea:  One family got together and created an illuminating evening in their neighborhood.  They purchased supplies to make the candle luminaria bags.  The family assembled and prepared them for sale together.  Then, they utilized their community social media group and local newsletter to advertise a Luminary Evening.  They picked Wednesday, but any evening will do. 

This simple, fun, illuminating idea raised more than $11,000 for their favorite charity!  Can you imagine how beautiful the neighborhood was that evening!?  I’ll bet there was a parade of neighborhood people walking/driving around to see the beauty!  To top it off, this family only lived in that neighborhood for 8 months before organizing.  This further drives home the fact that people are hurting and starved for a sense of community right now.  We all need it. 

Save Your Local Small Business:  Challenge your neighborhood to support local businesses now by purchasing gift cards from them to be used when the business is back on track.  Pick a different place every week for a month.  Utilize neighborhood emails, newsletters and social media groups.  Call it something like “(name of town or subdivision) Stands Strong for (name of business).  Let the neighborhood know about the September Walk.  Give them the opportunity to multiply their impact by donating their gift cards to your ASF Walk raffle if they so choose.

If you have a community building idea, I would love to hear about it!  Let’s DETERMINE to help be the spark of joy that so many others are in serious need of!  You’ll be helping people connect during stressful isolation with something fun.  And, you’ll help spark a sense of community, which is a huge void right now for so many.

Go on with your joy-filled self!  And always know,
You ARE Loved!

Kitty Murphy

Kitty Murphy

P.S. If you are struggling and need more than a few happy stories to pull you through, the ASF is here for you! Please reach out.  We are DETERMINED to always be here for you!