Willmar Family Uproots For Daughter’s Autism Treatment

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Next month, WCCO is Pulling Together to help Fraser — Minnesota’s leader in autism resources.

Donations from the event will help Fraser fulfill its “35/35” vision — making sure no family has to travel further than 35 minutes or 35 miles for treatment.

Like many families living outside the Twin Cities, the Nelsons had few options available to them when their daughter Harper was diagnosed with autism. The closest Fraser facility was over 90 miles away from their home in Willmar.

Their compromise was to buy a house in Mountrose — a halfway point between Harper’s therapy and their life at home. It was a sacrifice that’s made a big difference in Harper’s life, but a decision not every family can make.

“We’ve definitely seen Harper’s confidence grow a lot,” mental health practitioner Nicole Fogarty said. “She seems a lot more comfortable and familiar with the staff and the other peers around her. She’s a lot happier.”

Harper’s parents hope other children can get the opportunity she had.

“It’s very frustrating because you know there’s a lot of kids that aren’t getting their needs met — not getting services that they deserve,” Harper’s mother Melanie said.

So far, team St. Paul has collected more donations for Pulling Together. In the event of a tie at the tug of war, whichever city collects the most money will become the winner.

You can donate now online, and plan to join us on June 10 at Hidden Falls Regional Park in St. Paul to cheer us on.

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