Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/9/2017 (294 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Throughout my political career I have been lucky enough to have made friends with many incredible community leaders.
One of the strongest and most enduring friendships I have is with Marty and Lisa Morantz. Marty has been the city councilor for the Charleswood-Tuxedo-Whyte Ridge ward since the 2014 civic election and is a strong advocate for our community at City Hall.
But beyond his work on municipal budgets and infrastructure, Marty works hard with his wife Lisa to stand up for some of the most vulnerable in our society — namely, the estimated one in 94 Canadian children with autism spectrum disorder.
Last year, Marty and Lisa tragically lost their 16-year-old son Nathan, who had autism. I know first-hand what an incredible gift Nathan was to them and to the entire Morantz family. I also know how painful his loss has been.
From the very beginning, Marty and Lisa showed the patience and resilience necessary for parents who have a child with autism. They made sure that Nathan had the support he needed at home and at school so that he could live a full life. Most importantly, they — along with his loyal brother Jeremy — gave Nathan the love he needed and deserved. I know how proud they were of everything he was able to accomplish.
This is why I was truly humbled by the opportunity to serve as the honorary co-chair, along with Mayor Brian Bowman, of the Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University second annual charity golf tournament, for which Marty and Lisa were the title sponsors. The event, held at Bel Acres Golf & Country Club, brought in over $100,000 to help fund Dr. Ilan Dinstein’s groundbreaking autism research at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheva, Israel.
This is only the latest example of Marty and Lisa’s tireless advocacy for children with autism.
Through their love for Nathan, Marty and Lisa have taught the entire community about autism research and treatment. Marty’s work as a member of the Manitoba Families for Effective Autism Treatment and on the Gray Academy special needs steering committee has benefitted many autistic children in Manitoba.
Several years ago, Marty and Lisa also established the Nathan Morantz Fund to assist Dr. Jeanette Holden’s research into the genetic causes of autism at the Autism Spectrum Disorders Canadian-American Research Consortium out of Queen’s University.
Marty and Lisa opened my eyes to how much people with autism can contribute to our society and how much more we have left to learn about it. I am proud to call Marty and Lisa Morantz my friends and I know that they will continue to honour Nathan’s memory by raising awareness about this complex and challenging disorder.