For those of you that don’t know, I have a 7-year-old autistic son. Autism does not control our lives anymore, and we are completely blessed for having such a wonderful and sweet son. April is Autism Awareness Month and because of this there are many wonderful events and meetings planned around the city. There are actually a few autism walks planned.
Now, I have never done a walk, run or marathon of any sort and quite honestly the thought slightly makes me sweat. I remember grade school and high school when we were forced to run a mile and had to get under a certain time. I was not a pretty sight and I always made it in last. So, I’m not a huge fan of walks and marathons. Crowds and I do not mix! But because this particular walk means a lot to me, and I am willing to put my fears aside and try it.
I will be participating in the Indianapolis Walk Now for Autism Speaks. This is a 5k walk being held on April 28 at 9am in Garfield Park. Since I had no idea what a 5K is, I had to look it up and was surprised to find it is a 3.2 mile walk. Did I say I don’t like doing miles? Oh well!
On this day hundreds of other parents, teachers, professionals and autistic children will be participating. It will be a great day for families to come together, share their stories and just enjoy each other’s company. There will be no strange looks if a child has a meltdown, if someone just plops down on the ground and refuses to walk, etc. Everyone there will have been through it before and understand it.
The proceeds from this walk go towards research in to find a reason behind autism, treatment options, and just bringing awareness to autism. Autism currently affects 1 in 88 children. It is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate, respond to surroundings, and form relationships with others. It affects a child their whole life, and there is no cure. I can tell you from personal experience that it can be a very emotionally taxing and expensive disorder. That is why it is so important for people to participate and share their stories.
So if you find yourself with nothing to do on Saturday, April 28, I invite you to come to Garfield Park and witness this wonderful event. Please come cheer me on and show some support. I will need it.