You can turn a negative into a positive; it’s just a matter of perspective…

“Once I could see how sharing my story could positively impact a family, I was then able to start my own healing. Working for The Arc of Cowlitz County as the Parent to Parent Coordinator and Individual and Family Advocate has been highly therapeutic for me.” (by Lacey Cairns shared by permission)

My name is Lacey Cairns, I’m a single parent with 4 kids. Aidan is 20 currently serving in the Army Reserve, a full time college student, works in an adult supported living group home as a caregiver and loves to travel the world, Alex is 18 and has Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, Autism and is nonverbal. He has lived in a supported living residential group home since he was 9. We are blessed he only lives 5 minutes away from our home and that his older brother and I work for the same agency that houses him. Zach is 17 currently a high school student and loves to volunteer and Chloe is 12, she has Autism, Epilepsy and Major Neurocognitive Disorder and going through an array of testing to confirm a diagnosis. She has regressed significantly this past year making her my biggest challenge. It’s been emotionally challenging watching her lose skills and abilities across the board and become a whole new person. In a lot of ways this has been like a refresher course in what I went through with her brother and has given me a different perspective. I know that what I’m going through now will have a positive benefit somewhere down the road.

The last 2 years that Alex lived at home when life was overwhelming and unbearable I would often tell myself this too shall pass. I cannot be the only parent going through this. There has to be a reason or purpose why I’m experiencing this. There is always hope…am I right? Those were my answers when I would ask, “Why me”? Why Alex? This isn’t fair, when I would rant and rave to myself as I didn’t have anyone to talk to about what I was going through. I knew that if I ever got to a point where I could breathe, I wanted to help other families going through what I was going through. I didn’t want them to have to endure the isolation and desperation. I didn’t want them to feel alone. I wanted to give them a glimmer of hope.

Working for The Arc of Cowlitz County as the Parent to Parent Coordinator and Individual and Family Advocate has been highly therapeutic for me.  Some of my first cases were with families much like my own. Once I could see how sharing my story could positively impact a family, I was then able to start my own healing. I have been working for The Arc of Cowlitz County for 7 years and absolutely love what I do. I believe things happen for a reason, you may not understand exactly why but what you experience serves a purpose or a lesson. You can turn a negative into a positive; it’s just a matter of perspective.

7 years ago I was presented with an opportunity to turn a highly stressful, challenging and lonely situation into a positive one. I was able to take those experiences and make them meaningful and give them a purpose.