But another bloggy Mommy (whose son also has lived through the hell that is Infantile Spasms) told me about the give-a-way and I figured we'd give it a shot. I wrote an essay describing Luke's situation and telling why an iPad would be helpful for him. (that's a post all its own. How DOES an iPad help a kid like Luke? Ah...let me count the ways!! Like I said, a post all its own) To our delight, we were notified on Mother's Day that we had been selected as one of 40 families to receive an iPad. We were SO excited! And so amazed by Marissa's Dad (Mike) and his ability to organize something like this, all the while dealing with Marissa's seizures and upcoming surgeries.
There are really so many details (and, trust me, even the abridged version of this story is far too lengthy). But basically, the host of the give-a-way, Mike, promised to send an iPad, $500 worth of apps, and a cover. All along there was a ChipIn! box on his site and it was explained to us
that his (generous) employer was matching the donations, providing the money for the iPads.
It was all very believable. To be honest, I never questioned it. I never sent any personal information about our family to Mike that wouldn't be available on Google or facebook or our blog. I think I donated $5. I can't remember. It wasn't much, I know that. I never felt pressured to give. Truly, never felt that there was anything fishy about any of it.
(Plus, and I think this is important to note, it was another special needs family hosting the give-a-way. There are a few family blogs on line about Infantile Spasms. These people were our lifeline back in October of 2009. Our docs in town had ZERO answers for us. It's not an exaggeration to say that these families' blogs and youtube videos helped save Luke's life. Our neurologist here in town looked us square in the face and said, "Your son is not having seizures." (Idiot.)
But these families' blogs about their own children with Infantile Spasms urged us to investigate further. We knew there was something wrong. We just didn't know what. This online "family", this network of bloggers, helped us make the decision to keep searching for answers.... to get Luke to St. Louis for a second opinion. Thank God we did. You know the story. He WAS having seizures. And it WAS Infantile Spasms. You begin to feel pretty tight with these peeps. Even if they are only "online" friends. They were there when we needed them and that means a lot. So, what I'm saying here, is that there was a level of trust established there. We had no reason to suspect that one of our own would take advantage of us.)
But, there WAS something fishy going on. First, it was something about Apple's lawyers. And unfinished paperwork. Then, something about the employer. Then, supposedly the iPads
had been packaged, but not sent. I don't remember all of it. But almost all of June was correspondence filled with one excuse after another. It was frustrating. And getting to be more and more unbelievable. The stories just weren't adding up after a while.
Finally, during the first week of July, a couple of parents who were also "recipients" of the iPad give-a-way decided it was time to confront Mike and make him tell all of us the truth, the whole truth. There were no iPads packaged and ready to send. That was the truth. I'm not going to get too much into this part of it. Call it fraud. Internet scam. To be honest, I don't really know what happened. Deep down I want to believe that Mike's intentions were good, but that the whole thing, at some point, got out of hand. Who knows? I don't really want to use this blog as a place for speculation and character defamation. Hopefully one day we'll all know the truth. The whole truth. And nothing but the truth. For now, I know he's been reported to authorities. I'll leave it at that.
You still with me??
Not long after the truth came crashing down, we were notified by the two parents who had confronted Mike, that plans were already in the making to somehow make all of this right. We were hesitant to carry on with any sort of "give-a-way" Can you blame us? We had just been duped. But we decided it would be ok. If somehow the ship really could get turned around and good really could come out of all of this bad and somehow all of these kids really could get their iPads, then we were in.
The team of people trying to make all of this right are Mission iPossible. Their story is told here. They have partnered with the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation and are working now to get all of the iPads shipped, as funds are available.
We are SO blessed that Luke is the 2nd child to receive an iPad from the Mission iPossible team!! It arrived last Thursday!!
The ripping of the wrapping paper
was a little much for sensory -processing-challenged Luke. :)
Oh, it's an iPad....
Maybe this isn't so bad afterall...
Hey, look at that!
I like this!!
Figuring it out...
Daddy showing Luke how it works.
A huge, seriously HUGE thank you to the entire team over at Mission iPossible. To Heather, Ken, Darcy and Maureen and the generous donors to made this possible.....you are so appreciated!! Take a peek at the Mission iPossible site. These missions are changing the lives of special needs kids. Truly remarkable!