Despite a disorder that carries a dark disposition, Carson Holtz is living proof that fetal alcohol spectrum disorder doesn’t have a chokehold on his life.
You’ve likely seen the 36-year-old around town – headphones on, ear-to-ear grin as he air drums or strums to some of his favourite beats. Or maybe you’ve heard him playing his guitar or read some of his poetry.
“I’m a survivor of FASD,” Holtz says proudly.
As a local face of the disorder, Holtz is organizing a day of awareness around FASD Sunday at 11 a.m. in Polson Park. There will also be a FAS Awareness Walk Along in the park.
“We are promoting awareness of FASD and how to prevent it,” said Holtz, who, among others, will be speaking about his own experience at the event.
“It’s not secret. We should be opening this up like a can of worms.”
Everyone is urged to wear red, at the event, and for the entire month of September.
“For this month, if you can wear red shoes, socks or shirts that symbolizes your support.”
The colour red, symbolizing stop, or no, is used to portray the message that FASD is 100 per cent preventable and zero per cent curable.
“We can stomp on it,” said Holtz.
Along with hopes of a sea of red around town this month and at the event, the initiative aims to draw awareness around the fact that there is little to no support for FASD.
“There’s still no one fighting for this cause,” said Holtz. “I’d like to see more people coming to support us.”
The entire community is invited to the family-friendly event, which will feature entertainment. It is by donation, with all funds raised going towards making it an annual event.
Several local groups have also come on board in support of the initiative and will be at the event, such as the North Okanagan Neurological Association, the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society, the Lions Club and the First Nations Friendship Centre.