Alert for missing children

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Content warning: death of a child

PAOV — On Sunday afternoon, an 11-year-old autistic boy named Draven went missing after wandering away from his home in southeastern Ontario. An Amber Alert couldn’t be sent out for Draven, because he hadn’t been abducted. Tragically, his body was found on Monday afternoon. Petition starter Kat is calling for a new alert to be created to stop this tragedy happening to other autistic and vulnerable children. You can show your support by signing the petition now.

Draven Alert

56,226 have signed Kat Reid’s petition. Let’s get to 75,000!

Sign now with a click

**edit-I have now received the family’s blessing to use his name.

Here is the link to a gofundme created by his uncle, to help cover funeral costs. Please share the link, even if you’re not able to help financially

Hey everyone! I Just wanted to address a few questions and concerns.

No, I haven’t spoken to anyone in the family, as they are currently trying to navigate their way through the absolute devastation of losing a child. I used his name because I wanted people to know the story of what happened to this sweet and innocent child, if they didn’t already. This JUST happened and brought up the subject of more inclusive alerts again. This isn’t the first, or even the hundredth time it has been discussed. I also wanted to get this out to as many people as possible, as quickly as I could, before people started to lose interest and move on with their lives. I know that sounds awful, but that is the unfortunate reality. A tragedy occurs, we all get sad and then angry, we start fighting for change, nothing happens, everything goes quiet, another tragedy occurs, and the cycle continues. This is extremely important and I know that tons of people are typing his name in the Google and Facebook search bars, as well as many other search engines and social media sites, and was hoping this would increase the chances of it being discovered and shared. I’d love for this to actually succeed and to have an alert dedicated to this boy and his family in the near future, using his name to honour his memory, but that’s not my decision to make.

I also have no experience with anything like this, but I couldn’t stomach just sitting around on the couch crying about it, and doing absolutely nothing at all. To sit in silence while once again...nothing changes. His family deserves better than that. Other children deserve better than that. We ALL deserve better than that.

I am an extremely shy and anxious person, and I do my very best to avoid any type of attention at all, but as the mother of an autistic child I just felt I needed to do SOMETHING. When I said I wanted to get it out to ’as many people as possible’...I was expecting mostly friends and family to sign it, share to a few of their close family and friends, maybe some others in the community to notice it, and for it to hopefully start some conversations. I did NOT expect it to hit over 15,000 signatures by the next morning, and over 30,000 by midday. I didn’t even expect it to reach 500. My main goal was to raise awareness and get people thinking about it and talking about it. I have seen other petitions for the same thing, some much better than mine, but mine got more attention in the beginning and I’m not quite sure why. Possibly because it was short, to the point, and didn’t involve as much reading, etc.

I’m hoping when anyone from his family sees this, they understand that I didn’t want to bother them and cause them any more pain and stress during this difficult (I hate using that word, because difficult doesn’t even begin to describe it) time that should be spent focusing on each other and sharing memories of their sweet boy. I have no ill intentions, and I’m sure no one else did/does either as they also continue to share their own petitions, put up lawn signs and posters, make posts on social media, share his pictures that they found on news sites or other social media posts, leave dinosaur stuffies on benches and in parks, bring food to the family, contact their MP’s, and push for funding to put up fences and install security systems in homes with children/adults that are flight risks, etc.

We all feel helpless and heartbroken and are scrambling to find ways to help. We’re all so sick of seeing something we truly believe could be prevented, but a lot of us aren’t quite sure how to start working towards a solution. I’m so grateful to see so many people spreading awareness and asking for change, even if some haven’t done it in the best possible way. We need to be as loud as we can about this, in all the creative ways we can each think of, because change never came from one person trying one thing, one way.

In my opinion, nothing is too small to count right now, and no ideas are bad ideas. Lots of people doing something small is much more powerful than one person doing something big, or no one doing anything at all. We are all trying our best to show this family love, compassion, and empathy, and trying to figure out how we can decrease the chances of this happening again. Keep thinking, keep trying, keep talking. Don’t let the fear of not finding the perfect solution, all on your own, stop you from sharing your ideas. One of them could be the one that changes everything. One of them WILL be the one that changes everything, I need to believe that to keep getting through the day. I’m so completely exhausted from fighting for things I feel no one should have needed to ask for in the first place, because they should have already been dealt with years ago.

To address another common concern people have had - I’d also love to include other vulnerable people as well, including adults, but I can’t possibly include every single issue/person at the same time. I wish I could end racism, homelessness, poverty, hate, greed, violence, the list goes on, but it unfortunately doesn’t work that way. For my petition I’ve chosen to focus on autistic/special needs/vulnerable minors, again because this situation is fresh in everyone’s minds and hearts and these are just baby steps towards invoking great change. This is also something very close to my own heart, as my autistic child is also a flight risk and has made a run for it multiple times before. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and get ahold of her before she could get very far, and before she could get hurt. I encourage everyone to create your own petitions/posts/anything else you can think of, and include everything you want to say and bring awareness to. We all have something a little bit different to say, and different areas of focus, but overall we all want the same thing. Safety.

I’m just a parent who loves my child more than anything, watching other parents losing their child they love more than anything, and this was my way of taking a step towards making a difference. There is so much to be done, and I know I didn’t do the most amazing job...but I did what I felt I was capable of doing, and I hope everyone else does the same. Even if you feel like all you’re capable of is signing a petition or commenting on a post showing support for this family, it all counts. Every single one of your actions count.

Let’s continue to show this family that they matter, that their boy mattered, and that he will not be forgotten. Let’s continue to support and love one another to the best of our abilities. Again, thank you so much for your support!

Kat (Callie’s mom)

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