In Their Own Words – Why I Run for Team Autism Speaks
I do not have a child with autism and it is impossible for me to understand what day-to-day challenges individuals with autism and their families face. However, I know that we are all but one diagnosis away from our lives changing forever, and those families that are handed this diagnosis are suddenly faced with a challenge that might seem daunting.
My 14-year-old daughter, Megan, has severe spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. My father, in an instant, four years ago, fell off a ladder and became paralyzed from the waist down. I take care of my daughter at home and then work with my father at our family-owned business. I see them both struggle with their everyday lives and know it isn’t easy. My life changed in a moment, and theirs did as well, when their own diagnosis was handed to them. Accidents happen, ladders fall, babies are born prematurely. We are all susceptible to whatever is next, good or bad. Team Autism Speaks strives to provide a solution to this – by raising awareness, searching for a cure and closing the gap to the unknown.
Why did I choose Team Autism Speaks? I realize that just because my daughter and father are disabled doesn’t make me any less likely to have a friend who has a child with autism, a niece or nephew who might be diagnosed, or know a person in our community living every day with it.
I will spend this summer and fall training for the ING New York City Marathon, a dream I never thought I would achieve when I first laced up my running shoes around the time of my father’s accident. Through the years, I have felt that I run because my daughter and father cannot. Now I will run because, perhaps, I can make a difference to those families who live, struggle and thrive with an autism diagnosis; may my small 26.2 mile journey be but a large step in overcoming one more developmental disability. We do not know what is around the corner, but I would like to help lead the way.
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 Timmesa Eads from Mt. Airy, N.C.
If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.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.