This Amazing Community

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by Fiona Russo

I’ve been a member of the Firefly community for a couple of years now. 

At first I was a bit of a satellite member out here in Australia, but Firefly now has official Australian stockists! This is such excellent news for families here who will be able to access Firefly products using their government disability support funds.

For me personally, I joined this group in the early days, pre-diagnosis for Charlie. 

The group has given me a platform to share our story - the good, the bad, and the ugly – in a safe and supportive place. 

I’ve received a number of messages from within our community (and from outside too!) about blogs I’ve written that struck a chord with people. 

Where I’ve been able to give voice to an issue that helps someone feel less alone, I’m just grateful to have been given the opportunity to write it. 

Posts by other bloggers have helped me similarly, and the care and support in this community never ceases to amaze me.

On that note, I want to share a couple of stories with you...  

A few months ago, a lady got in touch with me on Facebook after reading one of my posts in the Firefly Garden. She had realised we lived in the same region and wanted to seek my advice about paediatric services in our area after becoming concerned about her toddler’s development. 

One day, this lovely new friend read a blog post I had written when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and exhausted. 

She contacted me to say that her family lived on a small farm and would love to host mine for a day of rest and relaxation. Bear in mind that we had never met, except electronically. 

When she added that there were puppies available for cuddles, I was sold! 

We arranged a date and all six of us trekked out to their place. 

Their large family had children of all ages and our 12 year old son was immediately off on a spare bicycle their sons had managed to find. 

Our 16 year old daughter was whisked off to the stables and taught to milk a cow (new to this city girl) by a lovely girl her age. 

Seven year old Susannah was soon jumping on the trampoline with their own seven year old daughter, and even Charlie was in her element, surrounded by silky little puppies and the family’s youngest daughter. 

Michael was invited to the ‘man shed’ for a game of snooker and I happily chatted with my new friend and her eldest daughter whilst we made a lovely lunch for the masses.

To top it all off, they saddled up their quietest horses and let everyone have a ride. 

It was a blissful day and even a decent fall from one of the bikes didn’t dull the gloss for the boys. 

At the end of the day, their family invited us to return any time we fancied some peace and quiet. With so many children off enjoying themselves, that sounds like an oxymoron but it really was!

I have another friend, thanks to the Firefly community, with whom I am in regular contact from the other side of the world. 

Our daughters are the same age and our youngest ones face similar obstacles. 

We have commiserated and celebrated with each other, and given and received lots of advice and support. If it weren’t for the distance, I know we would be having regular coffee and play dates. I hope she knows how much I appreciate her friendship, and although we can’t eliminate each other’s difficulties, having someone to laugh, cry, and rant with is worth more than gold.

These are just two small examples of what being part of the Firefly community has meant for me. 

I know there must be similar stories out there, and I’d love to hear them. 

Thanks Firefly, for building this place, and thanks to all who contribute to making it what it is.

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