Autistic heroes need your support. September 19, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: Asperger's syndrome, autism, Kambel Smith, Kantai Smith, Kickstarter, Lonnie Smith, Survivor, Survivor Evolution
Our friend Ben has posted about Kickstarter, a crowdfunding site, before. (If you’re a Luddite like us, a crowdfunding site is one where anybody can pledge some money, a little or a lot, to support a cause they believe in. Typically, you’ll get some kind of special reward for your contribution.)
I’ve also posted about autism and Asperger’s syndrome (high-functioning autism, now simply called the high end of the autism spectrum), and of a pair of autistic brothers and their father, and their amazing achievements. (Type “A superhero we can all relate to,” “Autism rocks,” and/or “Autism still rocks” into our search bar at upper right to learn more about this incredible family.)
Autism matters to me because my brother’s two children are autistic. My nephew’s erratic behavior made him ineligible for the high school of his choice in D.C., even though his brilliance should have made him a shoo-in. His sister is far more well-adjusted, but she still has social issues. She loves other people, but her lack of conformity means that other people don’t always love her, and of course, she can’t understand (or sometimes even perceive) this.
I know that my brother’s and sister-in-law’s greatest concern is what will happen to my niece and nephew if they (the parents) die. And we’re talking about two exceptionally intelligent, but eternally innocent, children here. To see my brother and sister-in-law going to extreme measures to keep themselves healthy, to set up funds to take care of their kids in case mortality catches up with them, is heartbreaking. I myself am looking forward to seeing what sort of lives these two exceptionally smart, talented, faith-filled kids make for themselves.
I know that anything is possible, because of Lonnie Smith and his two exceptional sons, Kambel and Kantai. Kambel and Kantai are both severely autistic, a state that many dismiss as hopeless. But Lonnie, a single father with severe health issues of his own, refused to accept this prognosis. He saw the inherent brilliance of his sons, their amazing gifts. Kambel was a natural artist, and Kantai could weave a captivating story. Kantai, the less severely autistic of the brothers, also happens to be a computer genius.
Putting his sons’ talents together, Lonnie encouraged them to create a digital world of their own imagining. And out of this world came an autistic superhero, Survivor, and his archenemy, the League of Diseases, headed by the evil Cheeo, whose chief weapon is depression and who preys on children. When you see their characters, you’ll immediately realize that Kambel’s art is the equal of anybody’s. Well drawn! I was simply amazed by Kambel’s artistic ability. Judge for yourself.
So Lonnie Smith has encouraged his sons to create a world where the autistic (they call them “autisarians”) and anyone else who’s battling a disease or disability can fight it in embodied form. It’s pretty amazing. And not only has he given his sons a mission in life and enabled them to express their exceptional talents, but he has a vision for where Survivor and his friends and enemies could go: To a full-length online feature, video games, and even action figures.
But this kind of initiative costs money, which is where Kickstarter comes in. Please, please, if you have any interest in supporting autistic initiatives or charitable causes in general, head over to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/survivor/flames-of-avasten and check the Smiths’ initiative out. I think, I know, you’ll be as impressed as I am. Not their fantasy hero Survivor, but the real-life Smiths, are my heroes.