On Saturday evening Given To Live went to visit Elliot. Elliot is 10 years old, has autism and loves Queen with a passion.
Elliot's mum, Lisa, got in touch with us to see if there was any way we could help Elliot to see Queen. As well as loving the band Elliot had made sure to point out to his mum that Queen might not tour again because they're old. A point made many times. Many, many times with the follow up of 'Have you got Isle of Wight tickets, mum?' It so happened we could help Lisa and after a few phone calls we were able to make a plan for Elliot and his dad, Nik, to see his favourite band.
Autism can be many things but rarely easy for the person with autism nor for parents. It can be both confusing and demanding, constant and insistent, momentarily dormant, spontaneously volatile and so much more. Always human because autism, and other learning difficulties, is simply part of being human for so many. Bigger for some, smaller for others. Present for the individual and their friends and family all the time.
This year has been a very good year for Nik and Lisa as moving up a year, two teachers at school appeared in Elliot's life that have had an extraordinary impact. Miss Brock, especially, and Mr Thompson have made such a difference that mum says it's as if they've given her son back to them. Sometimes the biggest thing we can do for people is accept them and their quirks, listen and be there for them. Elliot is getting a lot of this at school now, a lot of being listened to and the difference is tremendous. Elliot also plays drum at a music project and GTL may have given him homework to practise his Queen songs.
So once Given To Live knew Queen were on tour we took the steps to make a gig a reality. A treat, an honouring of Elliot a reality. The only hurdle was that between us and Lisa, we thought a festival, on an island for a youngster with autism might be tricky. Too much chaos, too little clarity. What to do? Check out where else Queen are playing and see what we could do.
A thought occurred to GTL as we discovered that besides the Isle of Wight there were no other UK dates. Waffles. Boys like waffles. And Lisa let us know Elliot would enjoy the adventure of travelling. So once travel and waffles had been put together, Belgium waffles and Queen in Brussels made an awful lot of sense.
It also made a lot of sense to Elliot once he realised waffles, Brussels, Queen and a trip on the Eurostar were all for him and he'd be going with Dad. This morning we got a message saying Elliot is very excited, that he would be having melted chocolate, strawberries and cream on his waffles and that he keeps checking if it's real. Yes, Elliot, it is real and you are going to see your favourite band, Queen.
Elliot also has a few questions which we had sent over as you can see from the photo.
Answering as best we can...
Mostly in Belgium they speak French. Also Flemish which actually we're not exactly sure what that is. Because Belgium is so close to Holland, The Netherlands, some people speak Dutch as well. It's not important that you do as lots speak very good English.
Yes, they have coke.
You can take electricals. They do have different plugs but it's ok because Given To Live has a special plug which makes English electricals work and you can borrow it.
Yes you can bring your fluffy blanket. And any fluffy clothes you need.
We hope not!
Yes they do have stationary. The hotel will actually have free stationary for you if you want.
Especially waffle shops.
See the photo :-)
For the last year the Foo Fam, a Facebook group with members from all four corners of the globe, has been supporting Given To Live.