A philanthropic Canadian couple have purchased a vacation home in Florida to be used as a free respite for families with autistic children, the Globe and Mail reports.
Luis and Mary Navas' son Lucas, 6, was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old.
Mr. Navas uprooted his family from Toronto to Miami so that Lucas could get access to a range of programs not available in Canada. The move was worth it: Lucas is now walking, swimming, and no longer has stomach problems. He even speaks in short sentences.
Mr. Navas, his wife, and his daughter, Bianca, understand that their situation is a blessed one, and want to give back to other families affected by autism.
Mr. Navas' international consulting company, Global Governance Advisors, helped his family raise $2 million to buy a 2,400-square-foot home that sleeps 14 along the Emerald Coast on the Florida Panhandle. Mr. Navas hopes to make the house a year-round, no-cost getaway spot for families with autistic children.
"You are really limited to what you can do when it comes to travelling," Mr. Navas said in an interview.
"These are families who are not only probably more in need of a vacation than the average family, they're also the families who have the most difficulty getting away. These are families who are likely already going broke on medical bills and therapists. Not to mention facing the challenge of finding special needs-friendly destinations at any cost," the Stir's Jacqueline Burt writes.
Mr. Navas is currently working with a Canadian group to help reach out to families who might be interesting in the Florida vacation spot.
He says his generosity was inspired by a CEO who gives away most of his income. The CEO felt he had been blessed and wanted to forward that to others.
"It's an interesting perspective on executive compensation," Mr. Navas told the Globe and Mail.