Home > Awareness, Fundraising > I’m not running to win, I’m running to honor

I’m not running to win, I’m running to honor

Team Up! with Autism Speaks is dedicated to raising funds to support the mission of Autism Speaks through endurance events that we partner with.  Our goal with each race is to raise awareness and funds through races. We are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. We are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals. Please join our team and help us accomplish our mission!

Billy Mann, father, husband, Autism Speaks Board Member, believer…I am 42 years old, not graceful and not pretty, I’m training hard and a week away from the New York Marathon.  Between online donations, mail-ins and my awesome friends, P!nk and Carey Hart for contributing $25,000 towards the $110,000, we are only about $33,000 away from reaching our goal of honoring the ONE in 110 children. 

TEN REASONS why I’m running the marathon for Autism Speaks

  • I’m running to honor the incredible autism moms out there like my wife for whom every day is a marathon that tests their limits and then some.
  • I’m running to acknowledge children at all ages who, like ours, spend months/years learning how to simply hold a fork, or speak a word or learn to put on their clothes by themselves.  The 5 hours or so it is likely going to take me to complete the 26.2 miles is nothing next to the 40 hours of therapy my son needs every week just to fight for bare basic skills. If these kids can do that, I can push myself to the limits to do this.
  • I’m running for the parents but also to acknowledge the siblings and grandparents—in or out of any organization–that came before my wife and I, to thank them for being on the front line of advocacy before there was an Autism Speaks, before there were any services and they were brave enough to find a way forward.
  • I’m running for parents whose children with autism are now becoming adults with autism. Between now (when my oldest son is 9 years old) and when my family faces this transition, today’s parents who are addressing this will have done so much to benefit families like mine and I want to honor them now, and always.
  • I’m running to honor the high-functioning autism community and say thank you for educating us and ensuring that the world remembers that every individual with autism—however they are uniquely affected– has a voice, an intellect, gifts and talents, a point of view as valuable as any citizen and each individual contribution to our world should be respected, protected, embraced and celebrated.  I am running to say thank you to them, too.
  • I’m running because the human body is not meant to run 26.2 miles but autism makes us go beyond our limits.  I’m running because it’s hard, because it takes me out of my comfort zone, because I feel awkward doing it, because it hurts, because it takes leisure time and sleep from me: all things that our families face every day and it is a small gesture by comparison.
  • I’m running to acknowledge parents and families many of you know but do not realize that right now, silently, they are at the end of their rope and feel that they can’t go on another day struggling with autism’s impact on their lives because they are just strapped emotionally, financially, physically and even spiritually.  These are the parents who will keep my legs moving when I feel I cannot go on any more because they find a way.
  • In the past 7 years since we received our son’s diagnosed, autism prevalence soared from 1 in 166, to 1 in 150, to 1 in 110 (and 1 in 70 boys) in the USA.  It is 1 in 56 in the UK.  It is 1 in 38 in S. Korea.  Every time I share the statistics with people they always ask the same question, “Why?” and all I can say is the truth: we still don’t really know. With the numbers rising much faster than anyone could have imagined, we are lost without raising money. I am running so that when I ask you to give, you know I’m in it with you every step of the way.
  • I’m running to honor Autism Speaks, every local chapter, every advocate, every parent or sibling who wears a pin or has a puzzle piece on their car or baseball hat.  I am running to say thank you for being a safe resource for families like mine.
  • Lastly, I am running for Christian Hildebrand, an extraordinary little guy who God placed in the right hands with the entire Wright family and in so doing inspired real change in the world for all of us affected by autism.

I don’t know if we can reach the $110,000 for the 1 in 110 kids, but the marathon isn’t for another two weeks.  I’m not running to win, I’m running to honor.

  1. Eva Dimel
    October 25, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Autism

    I may not see things the way you do,
    And some times I don’t understand.
    But I hope that you’ll be patient with me
    And when I need help, lend me a helping hand.
    I’m trying very hard to learn, and at times I get upset,
    Please try to remember, I’m a work in progress,
    and God’s not done with me yet.
    There’re things in life I do not like,
    and sometimes I over react,
    It’s times like this I need your love,
    I’ll always love you back.
    Some days my struggles seem very hard
    and I don’t know what to do,
    But with your guidance and help and patience,
    I know I can make it through.
    I’m a child of God who He loves so much,
    with a purpose for my life,
    And with loving people who understand,
    I know everything will be all right.

    Written By Eva Dimel
    Inspired By God

    • iris
      October 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      Absolutely beautiful…..My daughter is the proud mother of an autistic child. I’m the very proud grandma.

      Hope you don’t mind if I share this with her.

      inspired…..

  2. October 25, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Incredibly well said! As a runner and an autism mom, I just have to say THANK YOU. I hope you feel the gratitude of families like mine as you run the streets of NY.

  3. October 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    thank you for acknowledging us parents. mothers are often exhausted everyday trying to take care of our autistic families. we are often forgot in our families as to how hard it is for us. the divorce rate is high among the autistim families. many autistic children are suffering at the hands of parents,teachers and society because a lack in help emotionally and financially to these families. thank you again. i have done the autism walks in florida. my daughter was one of severest there both years. i was thanked for letting people see the severity of autism whereas a lot are considered high functioning.my daughter cannot feed or take care of herself nor speak what she wants. good luck in the marathon. my husband use to run in them until our children were born.

  4. Sarah
    October 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    “Lastly, I am running for Christian Hildebrand, an extraordinary little guy who God placed in the right hands with the entire Wright family and in so doing inspired real change in the world for all of us affected by autism.”

    Well said.

    My sincere gratitude to you too, Mr. Mann (and your family).

  5. October 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Very well said, am a grandmother with a grandson with autism, Thank you.

  6. October 28, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Like a Gazelle with angel wings…. Run Billy… Run! Best wishes to you and AutismSpeaks! You can do it!

  7. October 29, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I am that parent who “silently, they are at the end of their rope and feel that they can’t go on another day struggling with autism’s impact on their lives because they are just strapped emotionally, financially, physically and even spiritually”.

    I am a single mother, unemployed and ill depending only on how much could I push myself just for this day, just for my children, and hoping maybe tomorrow will be better, hoping maybe tomorrow I will find more inspiration to keep going against everything else. I am writing this in tears, but tears of hope.

    I thank you for giviing me that inspiration for today.. One person, you, has not forgotten about me and my children. One person is doing a Marathon with us in his mind. May God Bless You forever and ever.

  8. brent
    November 1, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Well, thanks… You’ve made me cry early in the morning.

    Sigh.

    Beautiful words. Keep fighting. We’re all in this thing together.

  9. November 24, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Its always good to read about people doing some good in the world. Most people complain about things instead of channeling that into action for the better. good for you I hope you raise everything you want and more

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