Team Up With Autism Speaks has an Outstanding Year of Fundraising
Seven thousand two hundred fifty nine point four (7,259.4) miles. That’s how many miles Team Up with Autism Speaks members covered in 2010 to raise autism awareness and funds to support the mission of Autism Speaks. In 2010, Team Up fielded teams with guaranteed entries in events; 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, 2010 TD Five Borough Bike Tour, 2010 Chicago Half Marathon, 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and the ING NYC Marathon 2010. These teams have combined to raise over $776,583. Other Team Up participants competed on their own in endurance events across the country. Overall since 2007, when Team Up was established, our teams have raised over $1.7million to support the mission of Autism Speaks.
Many members of Team Up with Autism Speaks teams didn’t meet until the night before the race, but they ran as a team, united by their commitment to the cause, and their commitment to their children, brothers, sisters, neighbors and friends affected by autism. Every member of Team Up has a story worth telling. Here are a few we would like to share.
Katie Baranek and her boyfriend, Bill Shaffer, trained together and fundraised together. Katie’s family traveled to New York City to cheer them on as they ran the Marathon for her brother Hunter and sister Hayley. Katie and Bill also ran with our 2009 Chicago Marathon team and Katie will be running with our ING Miami Marathon team in 2011. “Running as a member of Team Autism Speaks has been such a great experience and I have been lucky to have been a part of the team for three marathons and three years in a row. I love to run in marathons, but it is so much more special when you run FOR something. I run for Autism Speaks in honor of my little brother and sister, who both have forms of autism and running has given me the chance to not just raise funds for autism, but to also raise awareness within my family, friends and community. Being a member of Team Autism Speaks has given me the opportunity to do something positive with each and every stride I take.”
Don Croteau started running on a treadmill, two to three miles just for some exercise. He then started stretching out his runs. After about three months, he was running 5-6 miles at a time, which he thought was his limit. But when he saw that Autism Speaks had a charity team in the 2010 Disney Marathon, he immediately registered for the half marathon and started training. Don has a beautiful blonde little friend, Molly, who has autism and knows several other families who are struggling with young children on the spectrum. He saw this as a true sign and as a way to anonymously support these wonderful children and their hard working, dedicated families. He also saw it as a way to give back some of his time and good fortune to a very worthy cause, and to give him strength and motivation when he needed it. Don ran for Autism Speaks in the 2010 ING NYC Marathon and is returning to the Disney run in 2011. More icing on the cake for Don, is that he is a slim 185 pounds now, down from 320 pounds. The evening prior to the NYC Marathon Autism Speaks President Mark Roithmayr asked Don why he ran for us. Don looked at him and quietly said…“running for Molly and Autism Speaks just makes me a better man.”
Sisters share a strong bond and this is no different for Meg Brossy and Molly Shirer, two of our NYC Marathon team members. But it is their love for Willie, Molly’s 19 year old son with autism that brought them to the city of New York to endure what most only dream of. Side by side every step of the way it took them seven hours and 17 minutes to complete the 26.2 mile journey for Willie. Molly beamed after her accomplishment saying “Willie is 19 and in early adulthood. I am realizing that he needs to take more steps towards being physically fit. I am determined now to make a “power-walker” out of him. He always attends the annual San Diego Autism Speaks Walks with me and seems to greatly enjoy the experience!”
These stories inspire us all to get up, lace up, and get moving. Team Up with Autism Speaks has limited entries into over 13 events in 2011. It is easy to join and we have a support team for you every step of the way as you strive to reach each of your goals. In 2011, Team Up has the opportunity to cover over 17,000 miles to raise awareness and funds.
How many miles will you cover?