Home > Awareness, Fundraising, In Their Own Words > In Their Own Words – Why I Run for Team Autism Speaks

In Their Own Words – Why I Run for Team Autism Speaks

I am the proud mom of twin boys – James (pictured at left) and Emmett. My son James has autism; my son Emmett does not not.

James was diagnosed at 23 months with autism.  We started noticing around 15 months that Emmett’s development was making leaps and bounds; James’ was not and he was losing words. My little boy lost his smiles,  his babble and became disconnected from us. Possibly the most painful thing a parent can ever experience.

As the years went by, I needed an outlet to deal with the stress and I had been a runner throughout college.  I also had a little boy, who because of his disability,  could never stand still and ran everywhere. We were constantly sprinting across playgrounds, parking lots, and streets, because James was always running.

I decided I needed to stay in shape so I could always run with James. And I started running.  Four marathons and several half marathons later, I’m still running. I’m not running fast,  I just can run.  And I can run with James and for James.  I can do the ultimate multi-tasking for any mother – raise awareness, raise funds for autism research and help my child.

In the photo above, Emmett is the little boy to my right.
My husband is next to him and my good friend Karen is in front.

Space is quickly filling up, so if you  would like to run with a group passionate about raising awareness then we want you to Team Up with Autism Speaks for the ING NYC Marathon 2010 please visit http://events.autismspeaks.org/nycmarathon for complete details.

This “In Their Own Words” essay is by Nancy O’Brien of Elmhurst, Ill.

If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to editors@autismspeaks.org. Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.

  1. Amanda
    May 15, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    This a very inspiring story. I started running last year and ran a 5k on Thanksgiving. I kind of slacked off so I am trying to build my mileage back up to do another 5k. I plan to do the Austism Speaks walk in Oct. And then I am hoping I will be fit enough to do a 10k on thanksgiving day. The 10k has nothing to do with autism, my point is just I hope to continually increase my distance and maybe by the time NYC marathon

  2. Amanda
    May 15, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    I don’t know if my other comment posted or how bad it looked but my point is that it would be an amazing accomplishment to a) do a marathon b)do the NYC marathon and c) do it in the name of autism. While I am so far from it this year, I can always set it as a goal for next, so one day when my son gets old enough he will realize just how cool his mommy is.

  3. cynthia carr falardeau
    May 16, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Nancy,
    Thanks for running and for sharing your story. Most of all thank you for giving of yourself to help families like ours. Your story is an inspiration and brings hope to all of us who love and work hard to help our children who live with Autism everyday. God Bless You! We will be shaking our pom-poms and cheering you on!
    Love,
    Cynthia, Jim and Wyatt (7 ASD & Appraxia) Falardeau – Vero Beach, FL

  4. Kevin Silha
    May 16, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks for the inspirational words, they are just what I needed to hear. I just registered for the Autism Speaks Chicago marathon team last week and was a bit worried I might let down my pledges since I haven’t ran too much since high school cross country. But your awesome story reinforced my belief that I can get there over the next 5 months, and do this for my son, Trey, who was diagnosed last year and all the other outstanding individuals on the spectrum.

    Maybe someday we will meet at a race!

    Best to you and your family,
    Kevin Silha

  5. Judith Ursitti
    May 18, 2010 at 9:00 am

    From one autism-mama-runner to another, virtual high-five! Love this blog!

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