Foundation Financial Group announced the winner of its internal Start Living Employee Sweepstakes. Congratulations to Julie Wanamaker, a senior marketing professional in the Rochester regional center. Wanamaker will receive a 3 day, 2 night vacation package for two including airfare to the location of her choice, car rental, resort stay, and $1,000 cash.
Wanamaker; her 8 year old daughter, Morgan; and her mom, Marilyn are going to Disney World!
When Morgan was 18 months old, she was diagnosed with Autism and classified as having Pervasive Developmental Disorder. She also has sensory deprivation to a high severity which means the lines between her brain and her sensory receptors are like frayed wires, not always letting signals through.
“Until she was 7 years old, she would not speak and required pull up’s. Last year Morgan motivated herself to communicate verbally, and decided to potty train,” said Wanamaker. “I do not find it coincidental that my grandmother passed away two weeks before Morgan started talking. Almost like a guardian angel, my grandmother was pushing Morgan to enhance her quality of life.”
Despite her Autism, Morgan leads a very normal and very busy life for an 8 year old girl. She’s enrolled in public school near her home in Brockport, New York and attends a special education class with a concentration on Autism needs where she is one of the brightest kids in her class. In addition to her education, Morgan participates in physical therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, speech therapy, massage therapy, Adaptive PE, and swim. Morgan is a two time Special Olympics gold medalist in track and field and silver medal winner in the standing long jump. During the summer, Morgan attends a special needs summer school and continues her extra-curricular activities.
“Morgan is VERY smart. She can do a large puzzle faster than most adults. She taught herself to type and can understand computers and computer programs better than the majority of kids her own age,” said Wanamaker. “She is also quite the little athlete. In addition to competing in the Special Olympics and swimming, this year she has taken on Zumba and Challenger Baseball. She even got to meet several players on the Rochester Red Wings baseball team.
“One of the major hardships to Morgan’s condition is that she easily becomes frustrated. She is very strong and can bruise a full grown adult with very little effort, and when Morgan is frustrated she makes sure that everyone feels it. Last year Morgan participated in the FFG sponsored walk for Autism Awareness and she completed the entire 1.5 mile walk without complaint. However, once the walk was finished she was tired and became frustrated. When Morgan is tired, she can become violent. In response she dug her nails into me and made me bleed. It was her way of showing how angry she was and her main means of communicating her feelings. It showed people what we go through on a day to day basis and a little bleeding went a long way to educate people.”
This will be Morgan’s first time on a plane and because Wanamaker is a little nervous about how she will react, Wanamaker has armed herself with Morgan’s laptop, iPad, favorite books, and other precious treasures to keep Morgan busy and hopefully avoid incident.
Wanamaker, a single mom, has raised Morgan with the help of her mother ever since Morgan’s father left, shortly after Morgan’s diagnoses.
“Without the support system that we have, I don’t know where Morgan and I would be. My mother has been one of the most instrumental forces in Morgan’s life. Because I work so many hours and am not always home, my mother has stood by my side and helped me raise Morgan,” said Wanamaker. “Finances are hard for everyone and with bills piling up left and right we have never been able to afford to take Morgan anywhere. Because of FFG I can give my daughter her dream vacation. She is so excited to meet Mickey for the first time ever!”
Wanamaker, Morgan and Marilyn are leaving the greater Rochester area early this Friday and heading to beautiful Orlando, Florida. On their tri-generational girl’s trip, the Wanamaker’s will be staying at Walt Disney World’s exquisite Swan and Dolphin Resort.
Wanamaker and her family plan to enjoy the resort amenities and beaches on Friday, and then take in the Orlando night life that evening. Saturday, they are waking early to experience Walt Disney World in all its glory. Because of Morgan’s love for whales, SeaWorld is on Sunday’s itinerary before the group heads back to Rochester late that evening.
About Foundation Financial Group
Foundation Financial Group is a multibillion dollar financial services corporation. FFG offers its customers Best in Class service through its Insurance, Retirement, Mortgage, and Tax Services. Named one of the fastest growing financial companies in the country by INC magazine, FFG has continued to grow its nationwide presence with over 100,000 new customers per year in 38 states. In addition to the value that Foundation Financial provides every customer, it is also dedicated to its communities and the people who live in them. Through a vast array of philanthropic endeavors the company not only provides significant monetary donations but also fosters a workforce environment that encourages all team members to personally make a difference. Foundation Financial is committed to its strong focus on customer service and community investment as it continues to grow and compete with the largest financial institutions in the world.
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