Skip to content

Fundraiser set for toddler with autism

A fundraising social is being held in Radville on Saturday, Jan. 15, for a local two-year-old boy who was recently diagnosed with severe autism.

A fundraising social is being held in Radville on Saturday, Jan. 15, for a local two-year-old boy who was recently diagnosed with severe autism. The funds raised will go towards the travel and treatment expenses for the little boy to travel to Mexico with his family to receive a stem cell transplant.

Benz Fladeland, the son of Mindy (Doud) and Clint Fladeland, was diagnosed with severe autism in October 2010, just prior to his second birthday. The diagnosis came after two years of hardships and diminished quality of life for the little boy.

To help raise funds for the trip to Mexico, a fundraising social is being held for the Fladeland family in the Radville Regional High School gymnasium on Saturday, Jan. 15. The social begins with activities at 5 p.m., and supper will be served at 6 p.m. There will be a live auction starting at 7:30 p.m. and a silent auction going from 5 p.m. until its close at 10 p.m.

Throughout Benz's short life, he has experienced gains in his development, only to undergo just as many setbacks. When he was a year old, he was able to blow kisses, imitate the sound of a monkey and understand the word "no", but after getting sick after receiving his H1N1 vaccination, most of the developmental milestones that Benz had reached were gone.

"Currently Benz is functioning at a four or five-month-old level in fine motor skills and cognitive ability, while his large motor skills vary from four months to one year," said Benz's mother, Mindy Fladeland. "At two years and two months old, Benz still does not acknowledge his dad when he walks in the door from work."

The Fladeland family has exhausted the majority of traditional and non-traditional therapies used for autistic children. Though many other children have experienced improvements in their quality of life and even recovered after using a combination of certain treatments, diets and supplements, Benz has shown minimal progress with these options.

The Fladelands have tried various types of therapy for Benz, including driving to Regina multiple times per week for occupational therapy and physiotherapy, crainiopath and natural path appointments, and to see dietitians and neurodevelopmentalists.

The Fladelands moved to Vancouver for a month in the summer while Benz received 40 sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and tomatis therapy. While Benz has experienced small improvements with these therapies, he is still not reaching the milestones he had when he was just a year old.

"Benz does not respond to his name or understand any verbal language and he is unable to speak," Mindy said. "He has impaired sensory processing and this makes it very difficult to attend any social events where there is a number of people or sounds. Benz is inconsolable in times of pain, fear and discomfort. (He) spends most of his day lost in his own world or playing with specific toys in an obsessive repetitive manner."

The Fladeland family has done much research on treatment options for Benz's autism and found a different type of treatment that has helped many other children who have cases similar to Benz's. They will be traveling to Mexico so Benz will be able to receive a stem cell transplant. The very rare treatment is only available in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

In Saskatchewan, government assistance for these types of treatments is very limited, especially in rural areas, so the family is responsible for carrying the financial burden. The first treatment for Benz will cost $30,000 US, and if any subsequent treatments are needed, they are an additional $12,000 each. This does not include travel expenses. The number of treatments needed depends on the individual, severity, how Benz responds to treatment and the financial limitations experienced by his family.

Tickets for the social are $25 for adults, $10 for students and children five and under are admitted free of charge.

Tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased from Deanna Schwindt or Yvette Riviere in Weyburn, Mary Doud in Radville or Tina Fettes in Gladmar. To make a monetary donation, cheques can be made to Benz Fladeland, Box 937, Weyburn, SK, S4H 2L2 or donations can be made to Benz Fladeland's Trust Fund at the Weyburn Royal Bank or Radville Radius Credit Union.