You Are Here to Positively Impact Lives. So Are We.

I write to you as a sister still fighting for her little brother.

I want to share my story and my brother Jimmy’s story with you. I hope to encourage you to join me as an UPstander and give as generously as you can to make sure that Jimmy and his peers are supported and protected. 

Early in my life, I was fortunate to be filled with unconditional love in my heart because Jimmy was my little brother. As an infant, Jimmy was diagnosed with severe autism and would forever be dependent on others for his care.  

I now realize that there are infinite worries that parents of a child with autism endure. What is the best treatment? How do we handle meltdowns? How do we protect him from others? From himself? What schooling is best? How will he learn? Then, probably the most worrisome question of all… what will happen to him when we’re gone?  

Growing up as a sibling of a child with autism, those thoughts never entered my mind. Instead, I was focused on ways to keep Jimmy engaged in activities. 

While I spent many moments teaching Jimmy many things that I knew…Jimmy was also my teacher. Through my time spent with Jimmy, I learned life’s GREATEST lessons. I learned patience, understanding, compassion, perseverance, empathy, and I learned how to be an UPstander; the sort of unexpected gifts you receive in return when you give unconditional love.

To this day, I feel that people who don’t have a “Jimmy” in their lives have missed out on so much. He enriched my childhood beyond belief. Jimmy was my “normal”. 

Sadly, the world did not view autism as I did. The world was not prepared for Jimmy to become an adult and provide the care that he would  need. This is even more of a crisis today where 50,000 young adults with autism are turning 18 years old each year in the United States.  

Over the years, the funding Bittersweet receives from Medicaid has decreased, while the needs have increased. The gap that exists between the true cost to provide all of the programs and the amount of funding that is received is approximately $230,000 per year. 

The reality is that Bittersweet needs our help to fill the funding gap. We need to be Jimmy and every participant’s UPstander and invest generously. We have to stand up rather than being a bystander in their fight. Every donation, regardless of the amount, is meaningful!

With your help Jimmy will forever have a place to call home. And the greatest thing about Bittersweet? Jimmy is still feeling that love…. unconditionally.



Jacquie Koch-Loughery

P.S. Please give as generously as you can to help my Jimmy and so many others!  Donate today!