Last week I wrote this post, with the intention of modifying the “coming soon” part after completing the Boston 13.1 for Autism Speaks. The revised post is below:
This post is starting today, and, if everything goes according to plan, will be capped off next Sunday by a confirmation from me that I completed the Boston 13.1 Run as an Autism Speaks team member. I don’t plan to write a full post next Sunday (a rarity in the three years I have been blogging weekly) because by that evening I will have run the race in Boston and made my way to New York City. I have roughly 60 hours in the City and plan to squeeze in every moment of BigApple-ness that I possibly can.
On February 14, 2012, I read this post and announced to my husband that evening that the best Valentine’s Day gift he could give me would be an endorsement of my running the Boston 13.1 on September 16. He wisely said yes (not that a “no” would have been anything to me except a minor hurdle!) and the planning began.
There are many reasons why I chose this race, in this place, on this day. I documented three of the biggest reasons in this April, 2012, post. As the precursor to running the race, I want to dedicate each of the miles.
Mile 1: Mile 1 is dedicated to the Florida State University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. CARD’s First Words Project provided assessment, support, and services to our family when my son was young and taught me about the pre-verbal developmental signs that may indicate a child has an autism spectrum disorder. And they answered my zillion questions, not to mention empathizing with my spiraling-out-of-control anxiety.
Mile 2: Mile 2 is dedicated to the HollyRod Foundation. Admittedly, most of my impression of the HollyRod Foundation’s work on behalf of Autism has been gleaned from reading Holly Robinson Peete’s tweets, and her open letter to Rapper 50 Cent. Those tweets and that open letter were enough for me to know that a) she loves her boy and b) she uses her fame in an articulate and focused way to help others with Autism. That’s enough for me.
Mile 3: For Thomas. Read his mom’s posts about autism here.
Mile 4: For Kidlet. Kidlet is the son of friends. He watches Carl Sagan’s Cosmos on Saturday mornings and he has Asperger’s Syndrome. Of course he rocks.
Mile 5: For Kyan. Kyan is the son of Mary Foley, who is the Chairperson of Jacksonville, Florida’s, Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Watch the 2 minute video on Mary’s “Why I Walk” post, and I guarantee it will be two minutes well spent.
Mile 6: For Josef, Cher’s son. Cher and I only know each other via Facebook, even though we live in the same town. Josef is 8 years old and has autism; his mom has been so supportive of every single one of my efforts related to autism.
Mile 7: Mile 7 is dedicated to Delirious Mom, conductor of her self-described “Crazy Train,” and her daughters. Read about her experiences being the mother of twin girls who have autism here.
Mile 8: Mile 8 is dedicated to Giana. Giana’s grandmother, Christine, became a social media friend of mine through our families’ experiences with Long QT Syndrome. Giana is young and is still having various assessments done. At this point Giana is believed to have SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) and is receiving the recommended therapy and is making wonderful progress.
Mile 9: Mile 9 is dedicated to Boy Wonder, a six year old with autism. I can’t wait to meet his mother, “Jersey,” at the run. That alone will be worth the hundreds of miles traveled to Boston and the 13.1 miles of running. Read her blog; it will only take you a few posts to understand why.
Mile 10: Mile 10 is dedicated to Carly Dowling. Carly used to be my daughter’s dance teacher but has remained a friend and role model. She teaches children with autism in South Florida. She deserves much more than a mile.
Mile 11: Mile 11 is dedicated to “The Menininho.” He is the son of my incredibly resourceful and engaging social media friend, Maya, who blogs about many things, including Marfan Syndrome, at www.marfmom.com. “M” was diagnosed with autism in 2010.
Mile 13: Well, Mile 13 and the extra .1, here you are. And I pray that next Sunday by 10:30 am. (race cut off time), that is where I will be too. One family that has gone the “extra mile” and then some is Luau, whose post kicked off this journey and Jess, whose many written-at-4am-to-the-detriment-of-her-own-well-being posts have taught me, encouraged me, entertained me, and motivated me. So for the two of you, for Brooke, and for big sister Katie (and even the dog), this mile point one is for you.
I have only scratched the surface with these dedications when it comes to the people and organizations who have impacted me when it comes to understanding more about autism and becoming an advocate. If I didn’t identify you by name, please know that you and your family matter so much.
The Boston 13.1 is now history. I ran the 13.1 miles in 3:09:03. The weather was incredible and the course was gorgeous and lined with music and cheering (and volunteers bearing strawberries!). Most importantly, the course wasfilled with runners and walkers representing Team Autism Speaks. We did get cool spinning medals, but what will resonate with me long after the medals lose their luster is the love these people feel for their family members with autism and for one another. I said when I started this journey that my first half had to be this race, on this day, in this place. I couldn’t be happier to have done exactly that.