‘IT’S BEEN AMAZ­ING’

So­cial me­dia plea brings in loads of spe­cial Kraft Din­ner for autis­tic boy

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE -

So­cial me­dia plea brings in loads of spe­cial Kraft Din­ner for autis­tic boy.

Hun­dreds of boxes of a lim­ited-edi­tion pasta have filled the home of a fam­ily in Nanaimo, B.C., fol­low­ing a plea to help their autis­tic son.

Reed Botwright put out a call on so­cial me­dia last week when he and his wife could not track down any more boxes of Star Wars Kraft Din­ner, one of the only foods their six- year- old son Everett will eat.

Everett is on the autism spec­trum and be­gan par­ing back which foods he would eat about three years ago, Botwright ex­plained, de­scrib­ing his son as a “spe­cial boy’’ with a huge imag­i­na­tion.

“One of his kind of key is­sues has been sur­round­ing food for smell, taste and tex­ture,’’ he said.

When the red-headed young­ster specif­i­cally re­quested the char­ac­ter-shaped noo­dles, his par­ents were ec­static. They stocked up on Star Wars KD the next time they were out shop­ping, but later re­al­ized the cheesy pasta was a lim­ited re­lease.

So Botwright posted mes­sages on Face­book and In­sta­gram last week, ask­ing his net­work if any­one had ex­tra boxes they could pass along or rec­om­men­da­tions on where the fam­ily could find more.

“Lit­tle did I re­al­ize that it would spread like lit­eral wild­fire and reach so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple,’’ he said.

A friend of a friend even tweeted Cana­dian ac­tor Wil­liam Shat­ner, who shared the lit­tle boy’s story.

“I think it was at that point that I re­al­ized it was blow­ing up pretty big,’’ Botwright said.

The fam­ily has re­ceived more than 500 boxes of Star Wars Kraft Din­ner over the past week, in­clud­ing 411 that were shipped to Van­cou­ver Is­land from Real Cana­dian Su­per­stores in B.C.’s Lower Main­land. The boxes came packed in plas­tic totes so the fam­ily can safely store them.

In­di­vid­u­als have sent the bright blue and orange boxes, too, Botwright said, and many of them come with spe­cial mes­sages.

“A lot of kids have heard the story and they write lit­tle notes in­side and put hearts and star stick­ers on the out­side. It’s been amaz­ing, just so mag­i­cal.’’

The fam­ily has also re­ceived mes­sages of sup­port from in­di­vid­u­als around the globe, in­clud­ing peo­ple who have kids on the autism spec­trum and have of­fered sup­port.

“They’re giv­ing us some ad­vice, some tips and en­cour­age­ment, just say­ing, you know, ‘We were in ex­actly the same po­si­tion as you five years ago and things are just so much bet­ter now be­cause we worked at it and it got bet­ter,’’’ Botwright said.

Now the fa­ther of four is hop­ing Star Wars Kraft Din­ner will be a step­ping stone to a broader diet for his son af­ter Everett in­di­cated he may be will­ing to try other vari­a­tions of the pasta.

Al­ready the noo­dles have ex­posed the fam­ily to a whole com­mu­nity full of car­ing peo­ple who want to make their lit­tle boy happy and com­fort­able. The ex­pe­ri­ence has been “in­cred­i­ble,’’ Botwright said.

“The cul­mi­na­tion of it is go­ing to be so much big­ger and bet­ter than just a few boxes of Star Wars Kraft Din­ner.’’

CP PHOTO

Everett Botwright holds a pack­age of Star Wars Kraft Din­ner in Nanaimo, B.C., in a fam­ily hand­out photo. Hun­dreds of boxes of the lim­ited-edi­tion pasta now fill the fam­ily home fol­low­ing a plea to help their autis­tic son.

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