Having a child with Autism is the same for any mother of a child with a disability. We have to be mentally strong, resilient and resourceful. We have to be their advocate, speaking out for their rights to an appropriate education and whatever resources they need toward a better outcome as they advance into adulthood. We have to be their shoulder to cry on and their champion when fighting against the harm that is done to them. We have to be able to pick ourselves up when perhaps we feel like hiding away, because we are the ones who make things better. Isn’t that what all mothers should do?
After years of struggle we found something that was to change Bobby’s life, something that would open a whole new world and help him to fight for the life he so deserved. He found his love of karting. From the moment he pulled on a helmet and shut out the world around him, he knew this was where he wanted to be. He was in complete control, it was him and the kart. Nothing else could stand in his way.
He lived to race, every spare minute in between was spent visualising his next race, where he could go faster, how he could improve, watching footage of races round different tracks and honing his skills on the computer and race seat. The bullies couldn’t hurt him now because he was better than them, he could race and he could win. They were nothing, because nothing else mattered.
Bobby’s love for endurance is down to the need to be in the seat for as long as possible. To be able to plan ahead, anticipate his next move and bang in lap times as close together as possible. To eat away at those ahead or to break away and build a gap. The autism which crippled and exhausted him, causing him so much pain, became his secret weapon. Racing is his obsession, he will always strive for perfection, always learning, always improving and never giving in. Without racing Bobby would be lost. The saying “Racing is Life” could have been written for him as he strives to be the best he can be.
Team BRIT has given Bobby much more than just racing (although his first win in a car was an indescribable joy). He has made friends that inspire him, team mates who have overcome so many hardships and came out fighting. People with shared dreams who respect and support each other. To be part of something so revolutionary, breaking down barriers and prejudices which once seemed impossible brings immeasurable pride and a sense of belonging to him.
The Bobby we see today isn’t the young man we were told he would be, he’s proved them all wrong.
All because he went racing.