Murrayville’s Saran family is resuming its annual bottle drive this year in support of the Canucks Autism Network after the pandemic altered last year’s event.
Sherry Saran’s now 10-year-old son Ethan was diagnosed with autism when he was five. The diagnosis meant a lot of learning for everyone in the family and changes in perception.
“We lacked the education what a child on the spectrum is suppose to be like,” Saran said.
Through Canucks Autism Network (CAN) Ethan took part in activities he enjoyed like swimming.
“We really hold [the network] dear to our hearts,” Saran said.
CAN is a non-profit that offers programs to individuals with autism and their families.
“The cool thing about it is that they do one-on-one [lessons],” Saran said, noting her son experienced individualized attention that he may not have received in a group.
Now the local family is working to raise awareness ahead of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and help support CAN so they can continue to offer those programs.
“The community support is huge,” Saran noted. “But if you don’t talk about it, you won’t get the support.”
It’s something Saran said she learned after sharing her family story with the community. She also wants to be a hand others can reach for.
“I want people to know I’m easily accessible,” Saran said.
This year’s event will held on March 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Langley Fundamental Elementary School (21789 50th Ave.).
The family hosted an inaugural fundraiser at Arthur Rose Park in 2019 that saw the community help the Sarans raise $5,700.
“It was a huge undertaking; we didn’t realize the huge outpour of support we were going to get,” Saran recalled.
The family had planned for a 2020 fundraiser, but the event was suspended due to the pandemic.
Instead an account was registered with Return-It recycling where the public could donate their refund to the fundraiser.
“It’s been quite successful,” Saran noted.
The COVID-friendly bottle drive raised $500, and the family plans to match that amount when members deliver this year’s cheque to CAN with a combined total from the 2020 and 2021 fundraisers.
The bottle drive will comply with current Provincial Health Orders. The Saran family members will be working in their safe bubble.
Ethan’s sister, Emma, will be joined by her friends from her Grade 10 cohort. The group will be in the area of 216th Street and Fraser Highway waving posters to help direct traffic to the school.
People are asked to drive-by Langley Fundamental Elementary where a volunteer will gather their donation.
“You don’t have to get out of the vehicle,” Saran explained.
Those who are not able to attend are welcome to drop off their donations at their nearest Return-It facility and ask that the money go to the CAN bottle drive account (7783227696).
— Canucks Autism Network (@canucksautism) March 20, 2021