It’s been 25 years since Carson Holtz discovered why he was having trouble remembering things, seemed disorganized and had difficulty making friends.
Following a series of tests and countless visits with doctors, Holtz was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder at eight-years-old.
Now 33, the Vernon resident has learned to cope with the symptoms of the condition and also wants to ensure others don’t have to go through it.
“I will have them permanently,” said Holtz, originally from Edmonton, who grew up in Vernon with his adoptive parents after being raised in North Delta.
Holtz is joining the community for FASD Awareness Day Monday with a walk and celebration in Spirit Park to share an important message.
“It is 100 per cent preventable,” said Holtz, whom some may recognize from the Vernon Farmers’ Market, where he plays his guitar every Thursday.
The event begins with a walk from Justice Park at 11:15 a.m. Monday, travelling down 30th Avenue, by Nolan’s and through the transit station to the old library/Spirit Square.
“We’re having a meeting, games, speeches, food. Anybody is more than welcome as long as they support us (barbecue by donation),” said Holtz, who will also be performing with his guitar.
The event is expected to wrap up by 1:30 p.m. with the goal of extending the message to as many as possible.
The first FASD day was celebrated on 9/9/99. This day was chosen so that on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, the world would remember that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should abstain from alcohol.
Holtz does not blame his birth mom, he just wants do everything possible to make people aware of the risks of drinking while pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
“I forgave her a long time ago.”
Along with his love of music, Holtz is a poet and has more than 1,000 poems. He has even sold his books of poems around town ($20 each), whenever he is helping out in the community (another favourite pastime) or socializing.
He is currently working on obtaining his food safe, which he plans to use to obtain a job where he will get paid in food.
He would also like to see more support for people suffering from FASD, whether it’s a support group or monetary assistance.
“There’s really no funding for FASD,” said Holtz, whose support group is his church, his support worker and the Canadian Mental Health Association.
“The staff are my good friends.”
Holtz asks anyone interested in buying a copy of his poems to contact him at 778-475-4331 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org