Eliza was a sweet, joyful and loving little girl. She loved popcorn and pinecones. She loved watching Frozen, Bubble Guppies and Mickey Mouse, and she would listen to the song “Happy” all day long if she could.
When Eliza was 16 months old she had her first seizure, and after months of doctors’ appointments and neurology tests, she was diagnosed with intractable Epilepsy and Autism Spectrum Disorder at 2 years old.
We soon learned that finding a place where Eliza could learn and grow would be an overwhelming task..
We want to honor Eliza’s life by helping families who have similar struggles. The best part of the day was watching Eliza wearing her backpack, happily walking to class alongside her teacher. Every child deserves that chance, and every parent should be able to experience that moment. This is the wish we hope to fulfill through the Eliza Hope Foundation.
Shortly after Audrey turned 2, she was diagnosed with autism. It rocked our world. Like most parents who have been on the receiving end of this news, we immediately felt overwhelmed by all the fears and worry. While we found some wonderful support systems for Audrey, we still felt lost in this new world. We didn’t know where to turn. Then, we found The Eliza Hope Foundation. We immediately connected with the mission and wished so badly something like this existed in the Richmond area. After visiting the flagship Eliza Hope location in Virginia Beach, we fell in love with what we saw unfolding inside the therapy center and the feeling of being completely understood.
The vision for a Richmond-based Eliza Hope Therapy Center grew from there. Back in Richmond, I met two other moms in a gymnastics class. Ann Kathryn is mom to Caroline and Jill is mom to Mary--both of whom received an autism diagnosis near age 2 like Audrey.
They shared my frustration in the lack of environments where our children could be themselves. They searched for “sensory-friendly” activities and continued to find themselves with no options in Richmond. I shared my vision for the Eliza Hope Therapy Center and we decided we'd come together to make it a reality.
Together, we emerged from the frustrating fog of our children's diagnoses and we now see a pathway to hope for Audrey, Caroline, Mary, and their friends. When we open our Eliza Hope Therapy Center in Richmond, our children will all have a place where they can safely play, learn, and thrive. Parents like us will have a welcoming environment to find resources, events, and a sense of belonging. We are so excited to bring Eliza’s legacy to Richmond! We are committed to spreading kindness and hope during a time when families feel lost. I hope you all will join us as we embark on this great journey!
We are committed to providing guidance to families when their child is first diagnosed or for families who need a diagnosis.
Once we have a diagnosis, we work with families to ensure that their child is in the best hands and is receiving the therapies that they need. We work with families and therapists to create a schedule that best suits their child, and the best part? You can get everything you need in ONE place here at the Eliza Hope Therapy Center!
Check out the different types of therapy below and visit our contact page for more information!
We are working to open an Eliza Hope Therapy Center in Richmond by 2022! We're actively touring possible locations and we're already offering programs for children and families like our Hope Stars Soccer League and regular sensory-friendly meetups in the Richmond area.
Whether you are a family with a child with an ASD diagnosis, an ally of those with ASD, or a company that wants to be a leader and transform our community, there are many ways to be a part of our work. Learn how you can help bring this vision to life.