Meet Jack. Jack is our 8 year-old son. Jack's current dream is to someday own a mansion (preferably with at least three floors and a basement) that he'll pay for by becoming a professional hockey player. Jack doesn't know which team he'll play for yet, since each NHL team has a full roster, but he's hoping it'll be the Detroit Red Wings. If professional hockey doesn't pan out, Jack's fallback plan is pay for his mansion by selling his hockey cards and used hockey equipment. Not a bad dream, if you ask me. Jack's extremely intelligent, loving, funny, stubborn, literal to the nth degree, and one of the most empathetic individuals you'll ever meet. Jack just also happens to have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was three.
While Jack's brain may be wired differently than yours and mine and he sometimes struggles with simple tasks and interpersonal interactions that you and I take for granted, Jack's been crushing life. Some of his success can no doubt be attributed to my wife Erica and me (well, mostly Erica) and our efforts to create a supportive home environment. But much of that success comes from the myriad of services and extraordinary providers we've arranged for Jack in the months and years since his early ASD diagnosis.
Though much has been learned about the brain and autism over the past several decades, and more and more resources have become available to individuals and families with loved ones on the spectrum, there is much left to accomplish. That's where charities like the Organization for Autism Research come in. OAR's mission is "to apply research to the challenges of autism" and funds studies that investigate issues related to diagnosis, early intervention, education, transition to adulthood, housing, employment, and life care. Basically, OAR's platform helps ensure that kids like Jack have the future they deserve.
Now, here's where you come in. On November 5, 2022, I'll be participating in IRONMAN Florida. Some might say that's insane -- voluntarily swimming 2.4 miles in the Gulf, biking 112 miles through Florida's Panhandle, and THEN running a full marathon through the streets of Panama City Beach. But what's even crazier is that I've set a goal to raise $10,000 for OAR!
I understand and respect that charitable giving is a very personal choice. Nonetheless, I encourage you to consider supporting our family and the millions of other families like ours with loved ones on the spectrum by making a small donation to OAR. Doing so will help provide necessary funding for autism research and resources for families needing support. Most importantly, you'll be helping ensure that Jack -- and kids like Jack -- have opportunities to fulfill their dreams (no matter how big they are) and live life to the fullest.
Thanks for your time and your donation,
WHY RUN FOR AUTISM? 1 in 44 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism. By joining the RUN FOR AUTISM team, you’re supporting OAR’s mission to fund research and resources that help people with autism and their families today.
Here are some of the ways that OAR uses the 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. $40,000 fully underwrites an applied research pilot study.
Jack in action!
Jack, in some of the hockey gear he'll sell in the future!