November 29th, 2013
What This Love is For
Fernando is a drummer. He is also a dad who has a teenage son with autism.
Having a child with autism can be a very lonely and isolating experience. There is a lack of understanding from others and parents often feel as though they are being judged by everyone around them. Even though the struggles of being a parent of a child with autism seem insurmountable at times, there are also good times and many reasons to celebrate.
Fernando’s love for his son created in him the desire and drive to share those reasons with others. He had a dream. The dream was to collaborate with other musicians, whose lives had also been touched by autism and collectively, they would write a song. He wanted the song to become the anthem of autism, just as ‘We Are the World’ was for humanitarian aid for Africa and the USA.
Together, with Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region (EAFWR) staff, they reached out to their networks of over 1500 families to find out if there were any musicians impacted by autism who were interested in forming a group. By early 2013, nine musicians from our community, including a mom, dad, brother, uncle, teacher and someone on the spectrum – all people impacted by autism, formed a band. Phil Lehmann and the Extendables were born and Fernando was the leader.
The band members quickly connected to one another and bonded over the one thing they had in common, aside from being musicians, – autism. Fernando’s original vision of creating a song about autism was coming alive through the music and lyrics. After Fernando secured donated rehearsal space, recording studio time, and a professional to master the final sound track, the song was recorded and What This Love Is For was officially complete.
The band debuted the song in June 2013, at the Autism Speaks Walk, bringing hundreds of people to their feet in a show of appreciation and understanding.
Download ‘What This Love is For’ by Phil Lehmann and the Extendables on iTunes and CD Baby. All money raised from the sales of this song will go to support more Community Development initiatives like this at EAFWR