Category: Every Child Counts

Eric's Light Shines On

Over the past few days, many of us who knew Eric Sawyer have wondered how best to celebrate and memorialize this beautiful and loving soul.

Eric's Light Shines On - Honouring Green Turtle Cay's Eric Sawyer

To honour Eric and his family, long-time Green Turtle Cay visitor and Sawyer family friend, Chelise Brodtmann Benvenutti, has launched the Eric Sawyer Memorial Fund, which will benefit Abaco’s Every Child Counts (ECC.)

If you knew Eric, you know how much school meant to him. Though he attended Green Turtle Cay’s Tiny Turtles preschool, local primary schools wouldn’t admit him because they didn’t feel able to accommodate a child with Down Syndrome.

Eric wanted so badly to attend school with the other kids that he would sit on his front steps every day, lunchbox in hand.

The Most Loved Person on Green Turtle Cay

My heart, like so many others, was shattered this morning when I learned that Green Turtle Cay’s Eric Sawyer, passed away unexpectedly last night.

Eric was the most joyful soul I have ever known. He was kind and funny and gregarious, and had more friends than any of us could count.

He kept careful track of birthdays and hand-made cards for family and friends. With his funny Facebook photos and comments, and updates about his favourite TV show, “Girl meets World”, he made us laugh.

Eric was a long-time Special Olympian who trained and competed in both bocce and track and field. He loved to travel, and just this past week returned from his annual Buddy Cruise.

In Abaco, Every Child Counts

If you’ve ever encountered a young man on a three-wheeled bicycle in Green Turtle Cay, you’ve likely met my friend, Eric Sawyer. He’s funny, kind and creative. And he has Down Syndrome.

Eric 7For families in the U.S., Canada and Europe who have children with special needs, life can be challenging. Fortunately though, the majority of these families have access to the information, resources, therapies and medical care necessary to help address their children’s challenges.

But imagine having a deaf child, or one with autism or Down Syndrome or cerebral palsy, and no access to information, resources or support. It’s a situation in which many Bahamian families find themselves.

Even if they could afford specialized care and resources — and many can’t — these resources simply aren’t available outside the main cities of Nassau and Freeport. And not every family is in a position to uproot and move.

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