Life deals everyone a bad hand at some point in life. The parents that make up the Autism community have been dealt an exceptionally bad hand. My heart breaks every time I hear a story or see a facebook status or read a blog post about their struggles. Something like where their child had a meltdown in a store and some stranger offered up ‘discipline’ advice. Or their child pushes away their affection. Or has difficulty with even something as simple as pointing out colors. I’m not even going to pretend that I understand what these parents go through on a daily basis. All I can do is offer up what little help I can when they ask it of me.
Now while telling you this story, I’m going to try really hard not to use every expletive in the English language. It starts off with two amazing people, Jimmy & Allison, and their autistic daughter. Now, the Autism community is a strong one. They support each other, they work together, they understand the difficulties that go along with being an Autism parent. This is why when George and Lea Kaydus of Siberian Snowbabies Animals for Autism – who have an autistic daughter of their own- decided to give a service dog away for Autism Awareness Month, parents were jumping on the chance to get their child a much needed service animal. 13 families to be exact.
Jimmy & Allison started relying on their community for donations. That’s where I come in. I facebook’d it and retweeted their posts, auctions and (sadly) I had to miss their fundraiser. I donated what I could on 5/20/11 directly to GEORGE KAYDUS through Paypal, using the email address BlueRibbonWins@yahoo.com. I know other people throughout the community also donated what they could. Allison & Jimmy also gave what they could ($2200) to ensure a service dog for their daughter. Do you know how much money that is to a military family???
And then came the Pepsi Refresh Project. It was for TEN families to get much needed, expensive service animals. These ten families rallied for George and Lea Kaydus to get the money. Voting multiple times a day, organizing family and friends to vote multiple times a day. All the hard work paid off. It was really a great day when I saw that Jimmy & Allisons daughter was chosen for a service dog and that it was fully funded – through outside donations and the Pepsi Refresh Project. Finally, these amazing parents finally got a well deserved fucking break! Granted they worked their ass off for it. But they got it. Their daughter would have a much needed service dog.
Then it got fishy.
Then it just got shady every which way from Sunday.
When Jimmy and Allison made the announcement that they have withdrawn from the project, they were very mum about the reasoning behind it. They informed me privately what was going on and immediately I called Paypal to return my money.
Then the ten families started talking to each other. They started sharing all their discoveries about this so called charity, like Lea Kaydus has a series of aliases, they provided a false Tax ID number, the photos of the service dogs they were sent were taken in 2007 yet were supposedly born in 2011, they never applied for non profit 501(3)c status, the same photos of the puppies were for sale on puppy sites, and many, many more red flags and things that didn’t add up. But it couldn’t really be a scam – I mean the Kaydus’s have a daughter with autism – They know how hard it is.
If you want to dive into the whole story and how these families came to realization that their efforts, money and dreams for their children were part of an elaborate fucking scam by George and Lea Kaydus. Check out Jimmy’s Blog or one of the other families involved explanation of how it went down.
It was too late for Paypal to refund my money, however they did put a flag on George Kaydus account. The families have started to band together and bring awareness to what this group is doing by contacting media, tweeting and retweeting out blog posts and the Autism community has responded by reposting and linking to these stories and sharing their own take on it – Because God forbid another family and their CHILD gets taken for a ride like this.
When I shared the story on a friends facebook wall and said DRINK COKE! One of his snarky friends made a super snarky comment of “WHY,should Pepsi be expected to help? It’s their money they can spend it how they want to.” No, Pepsi doesn’t have to help – but they should. Global Giving doesn’t have to help – but they should. It’s true, they can spend their money how they want to. But the intention of Pepsi was to do GOOD. Global Giving (who does all the checks and balances and disperses the grant money) has a clear concise mission about how their goal is to do GOOD. It is not their intention to help someone shatter ten families hopes. But they are standing idly by. Giving the families the runaround. Its not right. It’s just not right. These people are still trying to sell service dogs.
THAT’S WHY WE SHOULD ALL DO SOMETHING.
I’m just one voice and I don’t have much of a following to make it count as much as I wish it could, but I know if we all band together we can make it so this injustice is never felt by another family. So share the blog posts on twitter, post one of the media stories to your facebook, post the story to your own blog, tweet the media with this story. Maybe go for one of Jimmys, Allisons, Stinkerbabies, Liz Ditz or even this facebook note fromanother family involved.
So lets band together and LIGHT A FIRE under Pepsis’ ass, Global Giving’s ass, the news media, our communities. Lets make the Corporations stand by their original goal of DOING GOOD! Lets make it so the Kaydus can NEVER string another family along.