This is a blog post by Hamid Parvizian. His cousin Cameron has autism.
And here I am again, at the Houston Intercontinental Airport, waiting to board my plane to DC, where I will embark on my second annual ride in the “Bike to the Beach” Century Rides, benefiting Autism Speaks and autism Awareness. Waiting to board my plane, I reflect on my cousin, Cameron. Cameron fights autism everyday. But this bike ride is not just about Cameron. As I watched hundreds of thousands of people pass the many gates, I remembered that one out of every one-hundred and ten persons passing by the gates is affected with autism or will have a child born with autism. We have to find a cure. There is no compromising. This is why I’m here, boarding this plane, biking this distance.
And as I heard my flight called to board on the airport speakers, I knew I was on my way to making a difference in Cameron’s life and the lives of all families struggling with autism. My will and drive to push through this 108 mile ride pales in comparison to the millions of families trying to raise a child suffering with autism. And that’s when it hit me. My will to train hard and prepare for this ride all year was born from my inspiration – Cameron and all children with autism have inspired me to push myself to higher limits of physical fitness and accomplishment in my life. As a result of their bravery to fight autism everyday of their lives, I simply have no excuse not to demand the most from myself. I am now participating in Bike-to-the-Beach, scheduled to compete for my first Ironman in Florida in November, and then Ironman Texas in May.
Because of Cameron, I am inspired to reach my goal of not only finishing each race, but also achieving a personal record in time. I’ve been inspired before by Cameron, so inspired in fact that I was able to compete in my first half Ironman only months after starting training. I was also the winner of a Cervelo P3 tri-bike from tri-bike transports. My friend Andrew Torres with Torres Chop Shop spent 2 months and donating his time to designing and painting the bike converting into an ‘Autism Awareness Bike.’ I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have contacted me after seeing the pictures he was posting of the bike in progress. I am excited to be able ride this bike in my upcoming races and hope that it will help continue to raise awareness for autism.
This “In Their Own Words” post is by Dawn Stevens, as she shares her company Default Resource’s connection with Autism Speaks and Puzzlebuilder. They were a creative bunch and we are so impressed!
Getting involved with the Autism Speaks Puzzle Builder fundraiser was an exciting opportunity for our company, Default Resource. Knowing that this was a new and innovative approach to raising awareness and money for autism, really caught our attention.
In the past two years Edie Calderon, wife of CEO Glen Calderon, has participated in the Bike to the Beach campaign to help raise money for Autism Speaks. We felt that Puzzle Builder was a great complimentary campaign that could be handled internally and fit for our company culture. The fact that it only takes $10.00 to get involved, created an affordable option for each of us to participate.
We used two photos of each of our managers to build the puzzle and sent it out to our friends, families, and vendors. We raised $480.00 dollars in just a few days. Internally, our CEO donated a Phillips 42” widescreen flat TV with Pixel Plus 3 HD and we held an auction with our staff. Our Quality Assurance Manager Brian Dawson had the highest bid and the entire amount was donated to the Puzzle Builder fundraising campaign.
This has been a great team effort. We have now raised $1340.00 towards our $4000.00 goal. As a company, we feel privileged to be a part of the very first Puzzle Builder campaign, alongside an international social networking community.
“In Their Own Words” is a series within the Autism Speaks blog which shares the voices of people who have autism, as well as their loved ones. 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.