Meet Aundon Cade. Born a “micro-preemie,” weighing in at 1 lb. 3 oz., Aundon spent the first 6 months of his life in the hospital, enduring over 9 surgeries and a laundry list of medical challenges. His parents, Brandon and AnGèle, would do anything to make sure that every possible action was taken to keep their little boy alive and well. Unfortunately, it’s easy for families to get lost in the shuffle. Aundon’s parents refused, and instead asked the medical professionals, “What would you do if it was your child, ” anytime Aundon’s doctors floated with possible treatment options. Not only did it help his parents make important decisions concerning their son’s health, but it opened up the communication between themselves and his doctors. As a result, powerful and amazing alliances were built from these conversations.
Aundon may have been small, but he was a fighter. He grew stronger daily, and after spending the first portion of his life in a hospital, he was released. Today at age 12, Aundon is still a fighter. He is visually impaired, lives with autism, has a speech delay, and may also be a little socially awkward. But he is also amazing, kind, smart, fun, and he gives the best hugs!
As a parent, you would move heaven and earth for your child. But what would you do if your child was born with a disability? Would you know where to turn? Who would you seek guidance or advice from? Would you understand the language being spoken to you? Would you know where you could receive support and encouragement? Along Aundon’s journey, the Cades learned that “for a child to be as happy as can be, the families need to be loved on and supported as much as possible.” It was from this need to help other families dealing with similar situations that A Kid Like Aundon was born. A Kid Like Aundon is a nonprofit organization that supports families and children contending with varying disabilities or needs by providing them the language, the resources, and the space to give them much-needed encouragement and support. Whether the child has a varying need, a challenge, or is in the hospital for an extended period of time, we are here to make sure love and hope are always readily available for the child, their family (e.g., their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents) and their village (e.g., relatives, teachers, helpers, and therapists). Whether you have a kid coming (a baby), a kid now, or a kid at heart, we are here for you.”
“A Kid Like Aundon isn’t just about Aundon but every kid who is so different that a box can’t contain the makeup of who they are at their core. We want to empower parents, caregivers, grandparents, and even someone’s entire village to view our kids differently, not as consumers but as contributors to our society,” says AnGèle Cade. The goal is to make sure that families don’t get left behind in the system or stuck in the bureaucracy of getting the support they need. A Kid Like Aundon provides support groups, resources, and education, training on how to be in constant discussions with doctors, referrals, informational sessions, workshops, and correspondence with chaplains and agencies to figure out what to do next.
“Although our babies who become kids and eventually become adults are different, they are still part of our communities. I understand the need for specific days based on sensory or adjustments but imagine a world where no adjustments are needed because we allow for the differences. As he (Aundon) gets bigger, the world can be less gracious, but we will continue to learn more lessons, and we will continue to share these experiences with you in the hopes of helping you along your journey with your little ones. Let’s replace limitations with opportunities, focus more on the can’s than the cant’s, and never lose sight of your special and unique child,” AnGèle Cade.
A Kid Like Aundon was inspired by the journey of Aundon Cade, but the organization is here to help every child. Including yours. “Your child is not a disability or a statistic. They are beautiful, special, and unique just as they are, no matter what anyone says.” To learn more about Aundon, his incredible journey, and how you can volunteer or donate, please visit A Kid Like Aundon.