Autism support: 3 mothers sell special necklaces to fund treatment centre in Richmond

Three mothers in Metro Vancouver hope to raise $20,000 to fund a new support centre in Richmond for children with autism.

'We wanted a nice piece for people to wear and create conversation and awareness around autism'

Michelle Siu with her son Cameron, who was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old. "It was overwhelming," said Siu about coping with the disorder at first. (CBC)

When Debbie Siu's son Cameron turned two she knew something about him was different.

"He wasn't talking, he wasn't making any milestones that a typical two-year-old should be making," she said.

When he was three, doctors diagnosed Cameron with autism and since then Siu admits it's been tough.

This sterling silver puzzle necklace is being sold for $25 at 7 different London Drugs locations in B.C. and Alberta until Feb. 19, 2016 to raise money for the Pacific Family Autism Centre. (CBC)

"It was overwhelming. It can be a very lonely time," she said, adding that she came through those early years with a good circle of supporters around her which included her husband, friends and colleagues.

Now Siu has banded together with two other Metro Vancouver mothers of children with autism — Patricia James and Keri Kennett — to try and to raise $20,000 to help fund the Pacific Autism Family Centre, which is set to open in the summer of 2016.

They are selling sterling silver necklaces at 73 London Drugs locations across B.C. and Alberta for $25.

Ryan McNabb, the manager of a London Drugs in Burnaby, says the autism necklaces have been selling well. (CBC)

"We wanted a nice piece for people to wear and create conversation and awareness around autism," said Siu.

London Drugs says the response to the necklaces has been strong.

"We're seeing a lot of people who have been touched by autism really responding to it," said Ryan McNabb, manager of the Brentwood Town Centre location. "We've sold out a few times already."

Siu says it's imperative children with autism and their families get the resources they need to improve their quality of life, which she says her son Cameron has received.

"He's talking, he's making sentences. He's able to communicate with his friends. He goes to kindergarten and he's doing so wonderful," said Siu.

The necklaces are on sale until Feb. 19, 2016.

with files from Kiran Dhillon


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