|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
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.
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
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
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.