RUN FOR AUTISM Team Celebrates 10th Year at Bank of America Chicago Marathon
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon welcomed the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) as a Charity Partner for this year’s race, setting the stage for OAR’s 10th annual appearance at the world-class event this October 12. OAR plans to field a team of 150 runners for 2014 and welcomes runners of all levels to join the RUN FOR AUTISM—Chicago Marathon team.OAR has guaranteed race entries available until April 7 and is providing race entries free of charge to runners interested in securing their race entry now and fundraising for OAR. In addition to a free race entry, RUN FOR AUTISM team members receive free in-person or virtual marathon training through the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA). RUN FOR AUTISM membership also includes team running gear and OAR staff training and fundraising support. Race weekend events include a team pasta dinner and post-race celebration and hospitality at Charity Village. Northlake resident Daniel Padilla, 49, whose teenage son Josh is on the autism spectrum, has finished six Chicago Marathons on the RUN FOR AUTISM Team and is returning again for 2014. He explains why he runs year after year on behalf of OAR.
“It’s true that I still do it because I hope that one day I’ll be satisfied with the time results,” Padilla says. “But my truest reasons for running are: my son Josh’s friends that have personally touched my life and never cease to amaze me, his educators who have made special education their passion or coaches that welcomed Josh with open arms, and the Leyden High School football team seniors. They took Josh in as a freshman and have considered Josh one of their own since Day One. They are an amazing group of young men. I am appreciative of all who have contributed to creating a positive impact in the lives of young people with autism.”
Veteran OAR runner Diane Kellenburger, 66, from Portage, IN, has finished all but three Chicago Marathons since 2000 and qualifies this year as a Chicago legacy runner, but will be running with an OAR charity bib once again in 2014.
“This is my sixth year with OAR and the need has grown each year,” Kellenburger says. “As a grandmother of someone with autism, I have a two-fold reason to run—not only for my grandson Ryan, but for my daughter Kimberly, Ryan's mother. When Kim was little I could ‘kiss the hurt and make it go away’ or some ‘cookies and milk’ would fix anything. But today those solutions won't work. That's why I ‘Run for Autism.’ That's why I ‘Run for Ryan!’”
Those interested in joining Padilla and Kellenburger on the 10th annual RUN FOR AUTISM—Chicago Marathon team, who either need a guaranteed race entry before the lottery closes or qualify for their own entry, should visit firstgiving.com/OAR or contact the RUN staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Organization for Autism Research is a national nonprofit organization committed to excellence in its services to families, educators, caregivers, and individuals with autism. OAR’s mission is to apply research to the challenges of autism. No other organization has this as their primary focus. Since 2002, OAR has awarded more than $3 million for applied research studies. Among its many successful programs, OAR has published seven community friendly resource guides in its Life Journey through Autism series, launched the Kit for Kids peer education program that has taught over 15,000 middle and elementary school children about their peers with autism, and created a “Curriculum in a Box” of professional development resources for middle and high school teachers.