Houston designer is on a personal autism mission

KHOU 11's Mia Gradney reports

HOUSTON -- Designer Elaine Turner loves to laugh and so does her daughter. Ten-year-old Marlie gets it from her mom.

"She's the joy of our life and she has the most incredible sense of humor," says Elaine. The Houston based designer likes to have fun whether she's designing shoes, handbags, jewelry & apparel or shooting her web series Elaine's Big Life but she lives to laugh and love with Marlie.

Marlie lives with A-typical Autism.

Elaine explains, "They diagnosed her with an expressive receptive language delay."

Elaine and her husband Jim quickly intervened to provide Marlie with the best of care including: speech therapy, occupational therapy, a school for children coping with speech delays and learning disabilities. "We've always been on top of it," adds Elaine.

No expense has been spared. The Turners are fortunate to have the resources to support their daughter's needs. Elaine often reflects on how blessed they are.

"Every time I pull my credit card out I have this moment inside of me where I think … what about all the people who can't just pull the credit card out? It's just not an option."

Michelle Guppy's son is 21 years-old. Brandon is Autistic, severely developmentally delayed, has serious health issues and cannot read, write or speak.

"It's just $996 dollars a month just for his supplements. That doesn't account for what I have to contribute for his school," says Michelle. The cost of Brandon's care easily adds up. "All those years we had to pay for those things out of pocket because either insurance fought paying them long term or they simply wouldn't."

The Guppy's are among the middle class families falling through the cracks until now.

Elaine and Jim Turner are among the founding board members of Autism Rescue Angels a nonprofit organization seeking to provide financial assistance to Autism families for their medical, educational and respite needs.

"We all had the same goal of trying to connect the resources and the families with a way to pay for it," says Autism Rescue Angels co-founder Lisa Graham-Garza.

Applications for aid are already being processed. The Guppy family is set to be among the first recipients to be touched by Autism Rescue Angels.

The 501(c) nonprofit organization officially launches the evening of Tuesday, April 28th with a fundraising party at the Elaine Turner BLVD Place store.

For more information about Autism Rescue Angels: http://www.autismrescueangels.org/


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