The Birth of FASDay: The Real Story
By Teresa Kellerman August 2005
The official version of how it all began (according to the Senate Congressional Record):
In February of 1999, Bonnie Buxton and Brian Philcox of Toronto, Canada and Teresa Kellerman of Tuscon, AZ, all parents of fetal alcohol children, asked each other a question.
The question was, ``What if a world full of fetal alcohol parents all got together on the ninth hour, of the ninth day of the ninth month of the year and asked the world to remember that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should not drink alcohol?'' They asked, ``Would the world listen?''
This simple question launched a worldwide, grassroots movement, organized on e-mail list serves and on the World Wide Web to ask that communities everywhere observe Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day on September 9. The first International Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day, or FASDAY as it is known, was observed on September 9, 1999. In the ensuing years, the number of communities observing FASDAY has grown and grown.
What actually happened (according to the fly on the wall who heard it all):
In October of 1998, Bonnie Buxton and Brian Philcox escaped the brisk chill of autumn in Toronto, Canada, and traveled to sunny and warm Tucson, Arizona, where they met with Teresa Kellerman, director of the FAS Community Resource Center. Bonnie asked Teresa, “What if the three of us started an international organization to raise awareness about fetal alcohol issues around the world?”
Teresa responded, “What! Are you crazy? I’m having enough trouble just raising awareness here in Arizona. It’s just too big a plan. We can’t do that.”
Undaunted, Bonnie replied, “Yes we can! I’ll draw up the paperwork, and you put it out there on the Internet. Okay?”
“Okay!” And that was the beginning of FASworld, which in turn gave birth to FASDAY, an idea that originated with Brian Philcox while he was shoveling snow. Bonnie chose 9/9/99 to remind everyone that a woman can remain alcohol free for all nine months of pregnancy, and chose 9:09 for a moment of silence. Teresa spread the word on the Internet, and the first International FAS Awareness Day was celebrated on 9/9/99 at 9:09 all around the world. Activists in small rural communities and large metropolitan cities eagerly communicate by mail list and share new information and exciting ideas through the web site www.fasday.com.
In the ensuing years, hundreds of crazy but wonderful people in communities in every time zone volunteer their time and energy to organize FASDAY activities, where parents and professionals alike join forces in this phenomenal grassroots movement that now involves thousands of participants. Is the world listening? We think so! The FAS Community Resource Center that provides the majority of the information for FASDAY activists has 50,000 people each month visit its web pages that contain a wealth of information on research, prevention, and intervention of fetal alcohol issues. Parents, professionals, teachers and students alike visit the popular web site to educate themselves and to share information with others by downloading the hundreds of articles and handouts available there. The FAS Center web site can be found here: http://fasstar.com/fas
If you would like to join the excitement of raising awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, or want to learn more about FASD, please visit one of the above web sites. You will find books and bracelets and “Fasknots” and Smarties cards and lots of fun and easy ideas to make FASDay a success in your community. It really is a thrill to be part of this fantastic worldwide movement! Join us today!