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Josh Leslie-Smith's Fundraising Page

Josh Leslie-Smith

Josh Leslie-Smith

Hi! Thank you for visiting my page. My name is Josh, I am 24 from the UK and I will be running the 2023 Chicago Marathon as part of the Run For Autism team.

The reasons behind this challenge stem from personal experiences with autism. My amazing sister Sophie has severe autism and is completely non-verbal, needing 24/7 care. Sophie will most likely never be able to talk, live independently or do daily tasks without help, yet she is an inspiration to us in so many ways.

Anyone who knows or has met Sophie would agree that she brings a sense of joy to everyone that she comes into contact with, and I'm sure the above pictures help to showcase this.

Despite her challenges, she’s a happy, smiley 22 year old, and some of her favourite things to do include playing on her iPad, listening to ABBA (favourite song is Dancing Queen!) and reading Peppa Pig books. Her favourite foods include Shepherds Pie, Fish and Chips and Apple Crumble.. as English as it gets!

Ever since Sophie's birth, we as a family have been in contact and benefitted from autism charities. We have always been in awe of the selflessness of those who choose to work and serve people like Sophie, but of course the autism world is one that has many flaws and challenges.

The lack of depth surrounding the reasonings behind the disability is something which causes every individual in touch with autism confused and frustrated. Being able to understand autism from its roots would leave everyone with a clearer pathway on to how to diagnose, educate, manage and hopefully one day, cure autism.

This research would in turn help to give individuals like Sophie all the tools available to learn and grow through her life. Currently, the uncertainty of Sophie's future is a challenge which we as a family have probably found the most difficult. Autistic individuals struggle with change, so seeing Sophie get frustrated when her routine is altered for reasons outside of her control is difficult to see. Having a secured pathway for Sophie seems like somewhat of a dream, but hopefully one day a reality as a result of work by charities like the OAR. This security in her future would mean that Sophie could enjoy the things she loves and follow passions as she discovers them, whilst having a stable routine and living facilities supporting her in the background.

With all this said, any donation would mean the world, and I cant personally thank you enough. Despite making this page primarily about my sister, I hope this provides some context for what every autism individual and family experiences.

The OAR are doing incredible things for Autism and its awareness, so having the chance to run for them and complete such a challenge is an honour. Here are some examples as to how OAR uses funds raised by the RUN FOR AUTISM team:

- $10 provides a Curriculum in a Box professional development set to general education teachers.
- $25 provides 15 copies of A Guide to Safety to families and first responders.
- $100 provides the Kit for Kids peer education resource to an entire elementary or middle school.
- $150 provides 100 copies of a Life Journey through Autism guidebook sent to a community support group or military installation.
- $1,000 provides a research grant for a graduate student studying autism.
- $3,000 provides a scholarship for a student with autism to attend college.

Being my first marathon, i'm not really too sure what to expect. Maybe wrongly so.. i'm quite excited!

Thanks again,

Josh Leslie-Smith


raised of $3,000 goal


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