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The Heart of Cody

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Family honors late son with autism grant

By Kacie Goode

Anyone who knew Cody Mayfield knew he had a huge heart and loved unconditionally. It is that love that his family wants to share with the community by providing grants to help others affected by autism.

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The inaugural Heart of Cody Grant opens for applications Saturday and is the first project of the Cody Mayfield Memorial Foundation Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded to honor Cody’s memory after his sudden passing in March of last year.

“In our grief — in everyone’s grief — we just thought we needed something because he represented something so much more. He was so special,” said Sonja Mayfield, Cody’s mother. “He still lives on in all of us, and we want to continue that.”

Cody was diagnosed with severe autism when he was 2 years old. It was news that shocked the Mayfields, because they didn’t know much about what autism was, but they knew Cody wasn’t progressing as he should.

Sonja was fortunate to work in a school system and had some experience in working with children with special needs. She had the opportunity to attend training and learn more about her son’s diagnosis.

“I was never scared to ask questions,” she said. “Never.”

There were rough days with Cody, who had difficulty regulating his emotions and behavior. Autism fell under mental health, Sonja said, which a lot of insurance plans didn’t cover, but through grants, the Mayfields were able to provide Cody with a sensory room and other resources to help calm him.

When he turned 11, Cody started having seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. He was allergic to the dyes in many of the seizure medications available, limiting what he could take. A few months before his death and despite what was believed to be a successful surgery to help control the condition, Cody’s seizures returned and began affecting his breathing. On March 15, 2017, he died.

In his short life, Cody was a very active and affectionate boy. He loved to swing, he loved to paint, he loved making crafts, he played pranks and jokes, and he loved to socialize and make others laugh.

To honor him, the Heart of Cody Grant is open to Nelson County individuals of any age who are on the autism spectrum and aims to provide a service or item that could directly improve their quality of life. Applicants can apply for items such as a weighted blanket, assistive technology, home modifications, therapeutic equipment or other resources. The deadline for applications is Nov.1.

The grant, which will be awarded annually, was inspired by the Mayfields’ own struggle in finding help for Cody.

In its first year, there is $1,500 available in grant money, but foundation members hope to work with the community to raise more money for grants in the future. As the non-profit grows, they also hope to eventually provide additional programs for the elderly and others in need.

“It’s about giving to the heart of your community,” Sonja said, and sharing a piece of Cody’s heart in the process.

HEART OF CODY GRANT

Applications for the Heart of Cody Grant can be found online at www.cmmf-inc.org, at some area businesses, or requested by mail by calling Sonja Mayfield at (270) 590-2238. Deadline for applications to be received is Nov. 1. Funds will be distributed Nov. 15. Grant applications, as well as a copy of an official autism diagnosis from a medical doctor or specialist, should be mailed to: