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Paula Friedlund

Paula Friedlund found SARRC through a volunteer opportunity with her employer. She immediately knew it was an opportunity she couldn’t let pass, as her nephew, Jaymz, had just been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) the year before.

The event happened to be a radiothon, where she had the opportunity to hear firsthand stories of families who had been supported by SARRC.
As the legal guardian of Jaymz, now 24, whom she raised since he was a toddler, she instantly knew she needed to become involved with SARRC.

“Seeing the impact SARRC had in the community and hearing about the work they did to improve diagnosis, treatment, and resources—I wanted to provide support in any way I could,” says Paula.

Paula recounts early on in Jaymz’s younger years when he experienced developmental delays impacting him socially and academically.

“Countless tests and evaluations were conducted to try and determine a diagnosis,” she says.

It wasn’t until the beginning of his senior year in high school after going through another comprehensive series of tests/evaluations, that he was diagnosed with ASD.

“As a parent, I was emotional, yet relieved when he received this diagnosis—but I was also heartbroken that it took so long and that Jaymz had missed out on crucial services that could have helped him early on.”

In addition to joining SARRC’s Legacy Circle, Paula serves as a regular volunteer, assisting with year-round special events including the Autism Speaks Walk in Partnership with SARRC, and is an integral member of the Annual Community Breakfast committee.

“Seeing and reading the stories of others who have joined the Legacy Circle inspired me and I knew this was something additional I could do and wanted to do.
“Knowing that there is still so much more to discover, learn, create, and apply to help individuals with autism, families, and communities—a legacy gift allows me to continue to support those efforts,” says Paula.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a Legacy Circle member and ensuring the continued vitality and growth of SARRC’s services from one generation to the next, please contact Beth Salazar at [email protected] or 602-340-8717, ext. 1039.