FASlink Fetal Alcohol Disorders Society

Stephen Neafcy

Stephen Neafcy (FASD Survivor) FASFlight@msn.com
Barbara Neafcy, RN (Specialist in FASD) fasnest@msn.com

I am a reflection of Christopher Surbey, we are woven from the same cloth. Born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Christopher Surbey was stabbed to death last week because those who had the power to fund programs found other reasons not to help fund these desperately needed programs. Christopher Surbey don't forget his name, Christopher Surbey is looking down from heaven to see just how much we learned from his ultimate sacrifice. Can we all just do nothing, I know I can't. Those born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum, will not go away. You must realize our brain are like a fuse box on overload without the current flow that healthy brains have, to give us the chance to think before we act and make a choice. This was taken away from us by the alcohol before we we're born. All Christopher Surbey wanted was a chance, now we will never know the gift he could of given us. Don't let Christopher Surbey die in vain, let us all give all who where born with FASD a chance to make a difference by funding programs to help us with daily living. My Poem to Christopher Surbey his family. Then a little bit about me!

With a Cry
“Christopher Surbey”

Written by Stephen Neafcy
June 10th , 2005

In my time of understanding, the thought can never be that I see the blade that took the life of someone like me, Christopher Surbey. My eyes close and then I see the hands reaching out of Christopher Surbey, the cry “I Don’t Want To Die” I hear so clear as this echoes with so much fear. The streets so cold and the perpetrator so bold, takes Christopher Surbey’s life and his future now untold.

Listen to the cries from Chris, don’t just put his death on another list. Keep Christopher Surbey’s memory alive with the rest of us, those who are born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders need special security for without this you see the result with always be just like our precious Christopher Surbey. Chris we never met, but my heart does mourn, I never had a chance laugh or share a moment or two out of the norm.

Vince and Val, no words can express the emptiness’ since the passing of Chris. Please take hold of the thought that is your son Christopher Surbey left you with a kiss. We will keep Chris’s memory alive, and in his name other FASD’ers will survive.

I was born April 10th 1953 in Philadelphia, PA., from what I understand I was held back from birth because the doctor did not arrive yet. I was a hard birth for my mother and even before entering our world found it difficult to achieve.

The world was a huge and mighty force, that was to much for a small person as I. I did not learn like my siblings and had a hard time learning to crawl, everything was a major challenge with mostly negative results. School was dreaded and being taught almost impossible, my hand writing you could not understand not even myself. The teachers had to have a student take notes for me and copy my homework, the student usually was a girl whom I developed a puppy love crush. Needles to say I was not doing much learning, but love was always in the air.

I always was a loner and got lost in music at a very young age, with music it always seemed that other could express my feelings when I could not. I would always come home from school a failure, but once in my cocoon (my room) I could always feel success through my music. When I would open the door, it was reality again, my world of disappointing everyone. Always the one to laugh out because I was so different, my world as a young boy was full of questions with no answers (confusion big time)!

I was left back about every other grade and never retained what I was taught from the previous grade. It was a very hard time for me and my parents who always wanted me to succeed. My parents paid for tutors and Psychiatrists, even paid some of my peers to tutor me. Always with no success, I just did not get it could not understand why I was so stupid.

I would forever get myself in trouble, sometimes not realizing I was doing wrong. I use to do dumb things like one Sunday I was walking past the neighborhood candy store and being Sunday they where closed and at church. I noticed the door to the candy store left ajar, I was very sincere in this thought. I guess if we leave money on the counter we can go in and get some candy. So I preceded to do just that I went into the candy store put (what I thought was a fair price almost nothing J and begin to live a child’s dream being alone in a candy store with no adults to set limits. Soon some my peers passed by and said you’re going to get into trouble, I said no it’s alright just leave money on the counter. Remember I believed in my heart this was ok to do, I thought the owners would be very pleased. I guess one of the Neighbors saw the activity at the Candy store, got in touch with the owners at Church and it was not long before this wonderful dream became a nightmare. I thought you would be pleased, oh the candy store also leads to you home, and oh you have set prices for certain candies. Still I could not understand what every adult was so upset about, I was helping the owners of the candy store sell candy. I really truly believed I did nothing wrong, that’s one of the dangers of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. I had no ability to understand that this was wrong and I would only get in trouble if I walked through the left a jar door to the candy store.

There are many of other situations growing up FASD, which I will be posting on our website a little at a time. I was so poor in school that I dropped out of school with my parents ok and got a job at Sears and Roebucks. I worked in the catalog sales dept. filling orders for customers that phone in, when they came to pick up the order I went and found the merchandise and sold it to them. During this probationary period I was approached by a fellow employee and he started making friends with me. He begins to tell me he needs my help to move some things to his truck and would I help him. Of course I said yes, after this was done and it was a few days later he told me a few days ago I helped him steal Sears merchandise and look how easy it was I should try it. That morning I had a disagreement with my dad about me wanting to ware a tie and dad thought I would look out of place and stick out like a sore thumb. We argued back and forth, and then I ripped the tie off and stormed out the door to catch the bus for work. I felt awful, I never left the house like that and always hugged and kissed my parents. I just had to get to the phone and apologize for leaving that way; I called when I got to work but my mother said dad was not there but would give him my message.

My dad liked the fresh nuts that Sears sold and it was payday so I before leaving for the day got him the biggest bag they sold. I went home and went in the front door to see my Aunt Steffie and Uncle Joe and my mother with her face in her hands on the kitchen table. I said what’s wrong and mom picked up her head and said Dads dead, he committed suicide that afternoon with my rifle that my brother gave me from his army days. I was numb could not feel, did not know what to feel. I excused myself and went up to my room and put this song on and cried.

My Dad
Song - Paul Peterson

He isn't much in the eyes of the world,
He'll never make history.
No...He isn't much in the eyes of the world,
But he is the world to me...

My Dad,
Now here is a man.
To me he is everything strong,
No he can't do wrong,
My Dad.

My Dad,
Now he understands
When I bring him troubles to share,
Oh he's always there,
My Dad.

When I was small
I felt ten feet tall,
When I walked by his side.

And, everyone would say, "That's his son."
And my heart would burst with pride!

My Dad,
Oh I love him so.
And, I only hope that someday,
My own son will say,
"My Dad. Now Here is a man."

Needless to say I was very devastated and so much was left unsaid to dad, I would never be able to give him his favorite nuts from Sears. When I went back to work after dad’s funeral, nothing was the same and what that man said kept going through my head about shoplifting and not getting caught (I wanted to fill a void). I went down to the record and tape dept. with my Sears name badge on and found Abby Road on cassette tape and put it in my back pocket. I went on the escalator and felt a hand pulling the tape out of my pocket saying “What’s this”! Needles to say I lost my job, what really shocked me was I saw that man that put this idea into my head being congratulated. He turned out to be a security person who is placed undercover to find weak people, my mother was told that we could fight this and gets my job back but we did not pursue it.

This all ties in to typical FASD Vulnerability, I will give further examples of this as our website grows. Both Mom and I moved from Philadelphia to Reno Nevada, my sister Nancy lived in Sparks Nevada we lived there to begin a new life.

Through my teenager years I struggled to just be, I could not find my purpose. During my years I been in and out of mental health hospitals and had my problems with the law (shoplifting, writing bad checks, more on this will be posted on our website.) I got married at age 20 in 1973 and divorced in 1980, I with this marriage have 2 daughters Christy and Sara both in their 20’s now.

More on Christy and Sara will be added at another time. I was always looking for an answer, I was always looking for the question it seemed that when I found one I lost the other. I eventually moved back in with my mother who now lived in Sun City West, AZ. This was in 1986, and moved out to a studio apartment in 1990. There I met who would turn out to be the best friend I ever had Tom Kick. We had the same interests and did a lot of things together Barbeque etc, Tom and I are very close friends. Tom in Arizona, but we still stay in touch and plan to visit in the near future. In 1995 in August after fighting a battle with Autoimmune Hepatitis my mother died a condition in which the body fights against its own liver.

To be around family I moved to Washington State where my sister Nancy lives. After moving to Washington State Nan arranged after do a lot of research on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Effects (Now called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders) to be tested for possibly this being my problem. Dr Sterling Clarren director of FAS Diagnostic and Prevention Network in Washington State (now retired) after test me to have FAE Fetal Alcohol Effects. Now knowing my problem I was able to start a new second half of my life, I was 43 years when I was diagnosed now 50 years. After finding out I was given a computer by my late bother Jim and went on the internet to find out about me. I joined a listserv called FASLink where those who are or who take care of or just want to learn about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders sign up and participate. I was and still am greeted with open arms and accepted for who I am. I now do research for FASLink and private request (which I found to be very good at.) One other major event has happen due to joining FASLink, I started e-mailing and Instant Messaging a woman named Barbara Ferguson after a few years of communicating we arranged to meet and today we are married and live in Bettendorf, Iowa .

A Ray of Hope
by Stephen Neafcy

I was not diagnosed with FASD until I was 43 yrs old and not knowing the reasons for my actions was very frustrating. I was really a person who wanted to do good!! I could not understand what drove me to disappoint those I wanted to be proud of me. I was so lost! It was only after I was diagnosed with FASD that I realized my brain was like a fuse box on overload without the current flow that healthy brains have, to give me the chance to think before I acted and make a choice. This was taken away from me by the alcohol before I was born. Now where do I go from here? First it was important for me to realize the reason I had a short circuit. With this information I could pick up from that point and not keep bashing my head against the wall trying to be normal and function like those who don't have brain damage. This is impossible! Now knowing this would I take advantage of this Knowledge? At first maybe so, but with a chance to begin where I am capable and achieve from that point can only better my life. Now I might have a damaged brain and be unable to make decisions, but by turning to my higher power, that being (God) would and could take over for me.

I could as these words suggest be "BORN AGAIN". Yes I am talking about faith and turning my life over to Jesus Christ. Now just Imagine being able to have The Son of God take over for my damaged fuse box. Well I have done just that, Jesus Christ is guiding me and when I have a situation that needs a fuse box Jesus is there to comfort me and calm mtaught me the signals. I first start out with the mellow music of a Composer named Mars Lasar. With a Name Mars who would think His Music helps with bringing me back to earth. Faith in my life over rides the brain damage and gives me the strength to listen and let Jesus take control! I don't always release it to The Lord. That's when I have problems and begin to panic! But in the end of all the defects that the alcohol has given me, Jesus takes over and all is calm and Peace is restored.

Programs are needed for those who are affected with FASD. I will devote my life to see that these get off the ground. I also will help create them, this is my pledge to our Special Ones and those who Love them! Although FASD is for Life, hope is here and I'm no different from any other affected individual. I cast a Rainbow and say that at the end of this Rainbow is productive life for all with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. I will help unlock that door and help all of you see this Rainbow and see the productive life that Your Special One can lead.

By Stephen Neafcy 2001
"Diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder FASD"

Stephen Neafcy - CEO
Barbara Neafcy R.N. - President
FASFlight Inc.

3011 Central Avenue,
Bettendorf, Iowa 52722
Phone: (563) 359-7279
Fax: (563) 359-6844

A quote from Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach:

"When you step to the edge of light you have known, and are about to step out into darkness, faith is knowing one of two things will happen; there will be something to stand on or you will be taught to fly."