As a member of the Parent Exchange, you will receive information on special discounts and promotions only available through the SHARE Network. It's our way of saying THANK YOU for your support.


2006 - February

The SHARE Network was originally founded in 1999 and went online on February 7th, 2000. SHARE stands for Special Help And Respite Exchange. Our main goal and mission is to provide an alternative means for obtaining services and equipment for those with special healthcare needs. To provide an outlet for equipment no longer needed or used, and an online repository for those looking for equipment they can’t afford but desperately need. How did this all start? Well, in 1999 my son turned 10 years old. I was a single parent trying to hold on to a job, but finding it extremely difficult to find adequate care for my children. I was shocked and amazed to find other parents of special kids in the same dilemma. I also had closets full of equipment my son had outgrown, a wheelchair, a feeding seat, adaptive toys, etc., and no idea what to do with them. I knew that there had to be others like me out there and someone else who could actually use this stuff and I was determined to find a way to put the two together. To network information, services and equipment for the special people in our lives. Thus the inception, the foundation of the SHARE Network. Starting with friends bartering babysitting, garage sales to sell old equipment and buy new, to a national non-profit organization.

SHARE is run by volunteers and parents and/or family members of someone with special needs each sharing a common bond, the death of normalcy to the birth of disability. Any service or equipment we provide is free. We sponsor listings that are posted 4-6 times a year and grant requests that are made through our network through our grant program. Since we don’t have means to earn an income, our organization runs on the kindness of others.

Donations to the network can be made in several ways. Through the United Way as a payroll deduction or one time donation; Paypal donations through our website; pop tab collections; and our fundraisers. We are physically located in Phoenix, Arizona, but we are associated nationally and provide service to anyone who requests it.


As a parent of a special needs child, I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. I found this article in the Dear Abby section of the newspaper years ago and have found that nothing has come closer to describing this experience than how it is described here.  The article is called “Welcome to Holland” .

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland".

"Holland?!?", you say. "What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All of my life I've dreamed of going to Italy".

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would have never met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned".

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.