When an exhaustive search for a particular cup came up dry, a desperate father with an autistic son turned to Twitter for help. The response was overwhelmingly positive!These days, social media has a bad rap for perpetuating current tensions. Here's a reminder that a site like Twitter can be used to help people, even save a life.
Marc Carter, 42, from Devon in the UK, needed a small, blue Tommee Tippee replacement cup for his 14-year-old son, Ben. It has to be that cup; otherwise, Ben refuses to drink out of anything else. The problem is, Tommee Tippee discontinued manufacturing that particular cup years ago. Carter explained the urgency of the situation:
Ben is 14 and has severe autism, he's non-verbal and has very limited understanding. Since the age of 2 he drank exclusively from a little blue Tommee Tippee, two-handled cup.Ben hasn't drunk at school since the age of 5, he doesn't drink outside of the house so we can't go anywhere.People say he will drink when he's thirsty, but two emergency trips to
with severe dehydration say otherwise.
Three years ago, Carter managed to locate a replacement for the disintegrated cup, but now it's time for another. He told BBC:
If we lost the cup and couldn’t find another Ben would die. He would be put on fluids in hospital but he would yank out the tubes.
This tiny blue cup dictates our life.The tweet has been shared over a thousand times on Twitter and Facebook, and the hashtag #CupForBen has gone viral. Generous aid from around the globe arrived within 24 hours. The kindness of strangers moved Carter to tears.
The suggestion of duplicating the cup via a 3D printer is being considered, but Carter said that the process could be tricky. The cup has to be to the exact specifications of the original, down to the right type of plastic in addition to the rubber attached to the two handles. The shared tweet got the attention of manufacturer Tommee Tippee as well.
Carter explained that drinking from the blue cup is a permanent regimen for Ben.
The reality is Ben is unlikely to change, so I will need these for the rest of his life. That's a lot of cups. It's got to be easier to collect them now than try in 10 years, less will be around then.
Seven identical cups have been collected so far, but the search for a lifelong stock continues. Keep an eye out the next time you go to an antique shop, garage sale, or when you go dumpster diving. One person's trash could be another one's lifeline. If you happen to come across this particular cup, you can contact Carter via his other Twitter account, @PMPProject, and use the hashtag: #CupForBen.
H/T - BBC, mashable, dailymail, twitter, popsugar