Melissa Ueblacker would be so proud of her niece and nephew.
Many remember Ueblacker's heartbreaking story. She passed away on Sept. 25, 2009, at the too early age of 26. She died of the condition called encephalitis. Ueblacker is survived by her two autistic children, Angelina (now age 5) and Thomas (now age 4).
Last week, with the help of her children's cousins and their best friends, the children were able to raise money for the Grand Island Autism Support Group by selling lemonade for 25 cents per cup. Dozens of Island residents had the opportunity to stop at their stand that was set up on the corner of Woodstock Drive at Baseline Road. After a handful of hours, along with a few extremely generous donors, the five youngsters raised $120.
Ueblacker's son Thomas, niece Kaylee Conta, 11, nephew Joshua Conta, 9, and their neighbor's Lindsey Spencer, 13, and Jacob Spencer, 11, adorned their lemonade stand with a sign encouraging passersby to enjoy a cool drink in support of the developmental disorder that grips both Angelina and Thomas Ueblacker. And without hesitation, with the help of Melissa's sister (Kaylee and Joshua's mother Jennifer Ueblacker Conta) they delivered a donation check to Grand Island's RealtyUSA office, where parents and professionals who are faced with autism can meet once a month to exchange information and to support to each other.
Co-creators and Island residents Denise Hjalmarson and Vienna Laurendi Haak couldn't be more flattered by the children's donation to their support group. Their group includes families from on and off the Island, and they provide support to folks who are affected with autism as well as other developmental disorders.
The Grand Island Autism Support Group meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at 2139 Grand Island Blvd., across from Tops Markets. Contact Hjalmarson at [email protected], Haak at [email protected], or visit their facebook page at www.facebook.com/GrandIslandNYSupportGroup for more information.