I run for my daughter, Juliette. I truly believe she is perfect the way she is and would not change anything about her, but her differences will come with challenges. With so much still not understood about autism, it’s hard to find tools and resources needed to be successful.
The Organization for Autism Research is a fact based group that helps make resources available to anyone who needs them free of charge, as well as promoting understanding about autism through programs like The Schoolhouse Initiative￼. I truly believe in the OAR and feel like they are making an impact in the autism community and they will forever have my support. I became a team member in 2019, running the Chicago Marathon and raising $1,845! I again rocked my Run for Autism singlet in March 2020 to run the LA Marathon, raising $1,065, and also setting a personal record finishing the 26.2 miles in 3:26:17! I have also have be honored to be featured as the “Runner Spotlight” in April and chosen to participate as virtual run ambassador for the Run for Autism team during quarantine.
Team Member Spotlight: Tom Hughes | Organization for Autism Research
Without hesitation I decided to sign up and join the team again in Chicago in 2020. I began training and fundraising, but by April it was clear to me that this year would be different, I just never imagined how different it would be. April is autism awareness month and the community uses it as an opportunity to raise money and more importantly understanding. This year all events were cancelled, and shortly after all the races, making it hard for groups like the OAR, who depend on them to fundraise for research and programs.
I will also be running LA again in 2021 with the OAR team! I set a personal best last this year there and am confident I can do it again on their new race coarse!
While we are living in a time of uncertainty, I am hopeful that we will get through this and confident we will be running again in Chicago in 2021. I have deferred my entry to next year, but I will continue to do everything I can until then to help raise as much money and understanding I can. Your support means the world to me. I could never have been able to accomplish what I have without you, and your belief in me serves as continued motivation. I love you all, and thank you from the bottom of my heart!
WHY RUN FOR AUTISM?
1 in 54 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.