Usually, when Kaitlyn finds any loose change (or bills for that matter) around the house, she asks is she can have it. When she gets her “yes” answer, she totes it off to her room to her coin jar or piggy bank. She has also done the same with the “snow money” that she accumulated for over a year as we waited for drop off at school each morning.
The other morning, I thought I was in for another round of coin geography when reached into her coin storage area in the car. It had been a while, so I was mentally preparing my map of the USA, hoping she did not want to expand internationally (we recently separated a bag full of world coins by country, and she had a blast).
Nothing could have prepared me for what came next. And it was so much better than snow money or coin geography.
I asked her why she was getting all of the coins out of her stash, and her answer practically floored me. She said she was taking them to school that day (and I was wise to let her finish before I reminded her to not get in trouble with the coins during class). The reason she was filling the side pocket of her backpack with her coins was not to give them away to a friend or to play with them in class. Not even close.
Kaitlyn proudly proclaimed that she was taking the coins in to put them in the class jar for their “Coins for the Cure” drive. The school is holding a coin drive as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life; it acts as sort of a sister event to the school’s annual 5k (which also happened to be Kaitlyn’s first 5k when she ran it this year). At this point, I was all about helping her load up with coins to contribute.
It makes Amber and I very proud that Kaitlyn, on her own, decided to give up money that was all hers for such a wonderful cause. She does not know about the devastating effects that cancer can have on people, but she is determined to do her part to help find a cure. If there is one thing that we can say for certain about Kaitlyn it is how deeply she cares for everybody and how she wants to find ways to help everybody; I have seen her have a meltdown over seeing the most benign story on the news. Deep compassion and caring are two of the better traits that Asperger’s has given Kaitlyn, and Amber and I would not have it any other way.