Thursday is National Light It Up Blue Day, where people all over the country are encouraged to light their homes, businesses and even schools to the color blue to bring awareness to Autism.
Dale and Brenda Cargal are a Texoma couple who are helping to shine a light. Their 12-year old grandson, Brandt, has been diagnosed with Severe Autism.
“He gives you this look and that smile; it opens up a place in your heart. There is no other time in your life that you will feel that amazing power, love, strength and its everything I live for everyday," said Brenda Cargal.
The Cargal's have spent every weekend with their grandson Brandt since he was born.
“He gets spoiled when he comes here. There are not a lot of demands or pressures we put on him. We've taught him a lot of interactions and love," said Cargal.
Cargal and her husband have lit their house blue to bring awareness to the many that are just like their grandson.
“We started out with little light bulbs and each year progressed. His [Brandt's] parents sent pictures of their home and lit it up blue. My mother's house, she's kind of gone all out, she is 77-years-old," said Cargal.
Cargal said that being an advocate for her grandson is a calling.
“We do everything that is involved. We attend multiple conferences; we go to schedulings, school ARDs. We go to every function that we possibly can attend to learn as much as we can to help him and advocate just as much as possible," said Cargal.
For the Cargal's, being an advocate isn't just for today or this month, it's every day of the year.
“He [Brandt] is our pride and joy and I think we're his pride and joy. Severe Autism is a life-long disability. He'll never be able to live on his own. Hopefully the family with parents and grandparents, we'll be able to live long enough to get him to be able to have the best life possible for him," said Cargal.
1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism each year. That number lowers to 1 in 35 children for boys. There are about 300 students in the Region 9 area who have been diagnosed with Autism.
Light It Up Blue Day is presented by Autism Speaks.