Maxwell Begley: Honorary Member of the Clarington, Ontario, Canada, Chapter of the Canadian Motorcycle Cruisers


Source of Screenshot of Hate Letter: 

ImageSource of Photograph:

After the family of 13-year-old Maxwell Begley, who has autism, loves motorcycles, and lives in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, received an anonymous hate letter saying that he should be euthanized, the Clarington, Ontario, chapter of the Canadian Motorcycle Cruisers rallied around him and made him an honorary member. The hate letter ended, “Do the right thing and move or euthanize him!!! Either way, we are ALL better off!!! Sincerely, One pissed off mother!” Rob Cochrane, the head of the Clarington chapter, CMC 094, said, “It started off with a few of our members, I thought it was going to be 10-30 bikes and this thing has just totally taken off. We’re getting support on our Facebook page from all over the world.” Approximately 200 bikes participated in the rally. Mr. Cochrane said about the hate letter, “We were completely disgusted just like everybody else that’s seen it. It hit home because it’s close to our neighbourhood [and] we have some members from our motorcycle club who have autistic children, so I got in contact with the family.” Maxwell’s mother, Karla Begley, said about the hate letter, “It made me sick to my stomach to think that somebody hated my son that much and they didn’t even know him. But they just hated him because he was different. That’s the only reason they had to hate him.” She added about her son, “He doesn’t know anything about the letter. He loves the attention, he thinks he’s famous.” Ms. Begley added about the writer of the letter, “If they don’t like different people, they should move away and be a hermit, because life is full of unexpected stuff, and that’s what makes it interesting. That’s what I say to my husband every day.” The letter was sent to Maxwell’s grandmother, Brenda Millson, who lives in Newcastle. Maxwell sometimes stays with her because his mother has multiple sclerosis.Fortunately, many people, including the members of the Clarington, Ontario, chapter of the Canadian Motorcycle Cruisers, have ralled around Maxwell.

On August 28, Karla Begley published an open letter about her son and the hate letter on Love That Max: Special Needs Blog. The hate letter mentioned the noise that Max makes. Karla wrote, “If Max’s sounds bother someone, I’d hope that person would let us know in a respectful way. Give us a chance to handle it instead of being cowardly about it. I’d rather people bring things out in the open. Sometimes, kids come up to me and ask, ‘Why does he talk funny?’ The parents are embarrassed. But if the mom isn’t going to talk properly to a child, or teach him that kids with autism are not contagious, I will! It’s important to help kids understand and not be fearful from a young age. I’ll tell children, ‘He has autism and he has trouble with speech, but you can say ‘hi’ to him.’ And then I’ll have Max say ‘hi’ back and it’s OK. I’d rather kids ask than grow up to be the sort of people who write nasty letters about autism!”

She wrote more about life with Max and the therapy he has gotten, and she ended the letter with this paragraph: “Over the years, people have often said to us, ‘God only gives you what you can handle.’ But last night, I said to my husband, ‘I think God finally thought the Begleys have had enough!’ The community rallying around us has been amazing, the outpouring of support is awesome. It puts your faith back in humanity: Yes, people are generally good.”

For Further Information: Shawn Jeffords, “200 bikes attend rally to support autistic teen.” QMI Agency (Canada). 23 August 2013

For Further Information: Katie Daubs, “Hateful letter stirs local support for autistic boy.” Toronto Star (Canada). 19 August 2013

For Further Information: “Letter asking to ‘euthanize’ boy with autism not hate crime: Police will consider if the letter violates other parts of Criminal Code.” The Canadian Press. 20 August 2013

For Further Information: Karla Begley, “The mom’s response to that shocking autism hate letter about her son.” Love That Max: Special Needs Blog. 28 August 2013

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