top of page

Jay’s Story: A Child With Autism, A LIFE That Moved Many

Updated: Mar 25, 2022


Join myLIFEspeaks’ virtual “Jay Walk” 50K


We’re asking you to commit to walking, biking, swimming, skating, or crawling 50 kilometers (or 1 mile a day) for 31 days in memory of Jay or in honor of someone else in your life. #JayWalk50K


Register and claim your T-shirt here!


 


"I knew him before he came to live with you. People treated him like a dog. They chased him with rocks and beat him with sticks. Today at his funeral, I saw this same boy buried like the son of a king. His LIFE had value that many of us didn’t realize before. We will never be the same because of him.” - Leader of the village of Neply


Jay had autism. Because he didn’t act like others thought he should, people saw Jay as someone who was less than human. The Voodoo culture’s influence in Haiti had led many Haitians to think that someone who is different, disabled, or deformed is cursed; even disposable.


When Jay was little, he was taken to a Voodoo ceremony where he was thrown into a fire. The purpose was that he would be sacrificed and the “evil spirits” that were in him would be released. Jay escaped and ran away from the people who were trying to hurt him.


Jay had a scar on his shoulder from severe burns from being thrown into a fire as a child.

Jay was taken in by a caring, elderly woman who became his guardian for several years. She knew something wasn’t right with him but she saw his personality and loved him as her own. Jay lived with this woman until she was unable to care for him anymore. In 2012, Jay came to be a part of the myLIFEspeaks family. He was the second child to call myLIFEspeaks home.


It took him a few weeks to adjust but slowly the love of his new family and community started to heal him.


Jay in his favorite spot on the balcony overlooking the community.

Jay would stand on the balcony and yell at people walking by. He told people with goats that they had stolen his goat and they needed to bring it back. People laughed at him like he was the crazy child living at myLIFEspeaks. He yelled at people eating mangoes and told them he needed a mango. He told them he was starving, which wasn’t true, but it was something he had experienced before in life.

After a few weeks, we saw a difference in Jay but also in the way the community treated him. When Jay yelled at people walking past, instead of disregarding him, people interacted with him. They would jokingly tell Jay to come to get his goat. They told Jay they knew he wasn’t hungry. Some people even gave him a mango to eat. These were all huge moments for Jay and showed the way people’s views of him were changing.



Jay loved his daily walks around the village with his special education classmates. He and his friend, DouDoune, a young woman with Down Syndrome, would hold hands every day as they walked together.


The community came to know Jay. He changed the way many locals viewed individuals with special needs.


DouDoune with Izzy, the young woman who started our special education class in 2012 with 4 students.

On September 30th, 2012, Jay had a seizure while he was sleeping and never woke up. Jay’s life on earth ended but his legacy is forever a part of Neply.

At his funeral, the line of people stretched beyond what the eye could see. There wasn’t enough room at the gravesite for all the people crowded around.



As Jay’s body was laid to rest one of the leaders of the village came to Mike Wilson, Founder of myLIFEspeaks, and said,


“You promised that you would be here to speak up for kids like Jay. Today, I saw what that means. You have to promise that you will never leave Neply. You have made our village better because you have taught us the worth of people like this boy.


I knew him before he came to live with you. People treated him like a dog. They chased him with rocks and beat him with sticks. Today at his funeral, I saw this same boy buried like the son of a king. His LIFE had value that many of us didn’t realize before. We will never be the same because of him.”


The village of Neply was forever changed because of Jay. His LIFE speaks.



 

Join myLIFEspeaks’ virtual “Jay Walk” 50K



Jay loved to walk around the village. He would walk nearly a mile every day.


This March, we invite you to join us for a virtual “Jay Walk” 50k in honor of Jay’s LIFE. All registration fees go directly to fund special education classes at LIFE Academy where Jay attended.


Our goal is to raise $50,000 to cover the budget of LIFE Academy’s special education classes and activities for a year.


We’re asking you to commit to walking, biking, swimming, skating, or crawling 50 kilometers (or 1 mile a day) over the month of March in memory of Jay or in honor of someone else in your life.


Share photos and videos of you moving in honor of Jay with us on social media, using #JayWalk50k, and we'd love to re-post/share them!


Register and claim your T-shirt here!



292 views0 comments

コメント


bottom of page