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4 — 12
Welcome

MY GOOD FRIEND, CHASE

Cam Tait is a best-selling author and award winning journalist determined to honour the dignity and nobility of journalism ON DISABILITIES ... when it mattered and how we need it today

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Itu2019s those big brown eyes, that hearty laugh that slowly rolls from his stomach and zooms upwards with unleashed momentum and u2014 unceremoniously u2014 jubilantly comes out of his mouth with pure glee, and that giant heart which makes Chase Edwards a gentle prince.

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While enjoying a characteristic chuckle from family and friends Chase is, in the truest sense, a sneaky prankster. You really have to be on extra-high alert when you are around him for a zinger coming your way with a momentu2019s notice.

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Chase makes everyone he speaks to feel like they are the most important person in the world.

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In fact, he finishes each remark, question or comment to you with your name.

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Typical.

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When you see Chase enjoying a hamburger, or an ice-cold Mikeu2019s Hard Lemonade or playing his favourite app on his iPhone, you will never ever see it.

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Story continues below

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If you are a careful listener you might u2014 operative word being u201cmightu201d u2014 notice it. Probably not, though.

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Chase, like hundreds of thousands of others, has a hidden disability.

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Chase lives with autism u2014 a disability with so many nuances, different levels, different abilities and disabilities that, honestly, itu2019s not only difficult to explain; it can be even more challenging to completely comprehend.

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Autism affects learning, behaviour, speech, social skills and many other abilities.

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Some folks with autism need 24/7 care. Others, like Chase, are mobile and u2014 under supervision u2014 contribute in meaningful and unique ways through employment, churches and recreational activities.

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Chaseu2019s disability does not, and never will, define him. His charm, personality and care for others does.

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u201cI never get angry about having autism,u201d the 28-year-old says over u2014 social distancing, right? u2014 the phone.

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u201cNo, no, Cam. Never.u201d

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Like the rest of us, Chase is concerned about COVID-19 and its spread, and, more to the point, its unknown end.

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u201cIu2019m just staying home and hope that will stop the spread, Cam,u201d he said. u201cI think if we do that, weu2019ll be OK.u201d

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Chase lives with his parents, Brooke and Rhonda.

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u201cI work two days a week, Cam,u201d he said, u201cat Canada Safeway. Iu2019ve been working there for a year and a half.

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u201cIu2019m in customer service, helping people. I move carts around and take care of customers. I really enjoy it.u201d

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While Chase remains working through COVID-19, heu2019s missing meeting friends who he swims with.

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u201cBut, we have to stay at home and stay safe, Cam,u201d he said.

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Chase is a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints.

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u201cI really enjoy church, Cam,u201d he said. u201cIt makes me happy.u201d

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Every April, World Autism Awareness Day is celebrated. Led by the United Nations, the day is used to highlight and embrace people living with autism.

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That day is Thursday.

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It is of particular significance in these times.

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It reminds us, even if we canu2019t do a few things, we can still go after our dreams.

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All we have to is Chase them.

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