Thursday, July 12, 2012

Elgina Byrd

Autism Light #210 is Elgina Byrd.

Elgina Byrd was an autism mother from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania whose son Shawn Gauthney, Jr. has autism. Elgina Byrd died on July 4, 2012 from a stroke. She was 38 years old. Autism Light is designating Elgina Byrd an Autism Light posthumously because of her devotion as an autism mother and for her autism fundraising efforts. Elgina Byrd will also be added today to the Autism Light Memorial Roll.

John F. Morrison explained Elgina Byrd's relationship with her son Shawn this way:
Shawn, now 12, got the full impact of Elgina's care and love. She took him to the many activities for autistic children offered by the Variety Club. She took him skating, bowling and on trips to Wildwood. With Variety Club, there was camping and visits to aquariums and zoos, and many events to stimulate Shawn's mind and help him lead as normal a life as possible (Source).
In addition to being an autism mother to Shawn, Elgina Byrd worked for AlliedBarton Security Services. She also found time to participate in Autism Speaks walks in Philadelphia and raise funds for the national autism charity.

Elgina's daughter Deraj Pugh said about her mother, "She was very hardworking. She was very devoted as a mother. She was highly intelligent and was always willing to sacrifice herself for others. But she was also very funny, with a bubbly personality (Source)."

Funeral Arrangements: The funeral for Elgina Byrd will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia. Visitation will take place starting at 10 a.m. prior to the service and Burial will take place at Fernwood Cemetery.

The autism community has lost a hero. Elgina Byrd didn't need to be a celebrity or famous name to be one of those dedicated mothers for autism whose short life causes us to ask, "If this were my last day on earth, what would I do for autism?" Our thoughts are with Shawn Gauthney, Jr., Deraj Pugh and all the family of Elgina Byrd at this time. May her untimely death remind us to treasure all of our unknown days to serve and fight for autism.

The writer of this post learned about Elgina Byrd's Autism Light through a touching tribute that John F. Morrison wrote.  For a photo of Elgina Byrd and more information on her life read John F. Morrison's complete obituary on her for at

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

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