I am extremely excited to be the race director for “Light Up Columbus!” This race is near and dear to my heart because my little man, Cody, is autistic. Not only does Cody love being outside and around music – Cody LOVES glow sticks. “Light Up Columbus” will combine all of these aspects with a great energy for this amazing event.
Since learning of his diagnosis, I have been through a whirlwind of emotions. After countless hours of research, I am still unclear about so many aspects of this disability. I think this is a common feeling for families of autistic children. There are so many unknowns when it comes to autism – what causes it, what is the best way to “treat” it, will my child talk, will my child be able to live independently…….. and that’s just the first few on my list. Through our efforts with “Light Up Columbus,” we hope to make a difference in the community. In order to make this successful, we have joined forces with Uptown Columbus. It is my goal to bring this community together to gain a better understanding of autism by raising awareness. I want to show the local autism community that we support them and also make a considerable donation to the leading non-profit Autism Speaks.
Autism Speaks does so much to support and educate the community about autism. Two more things that they strive for are insurance reform and research. These two missions are vital to the success of our children with the diagnosis. We need the insurance reform to ensure that these children can receive the therapy that is crucial for them. We also need research – as a community, we need answers to know why 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism. With ongoing research, I am hopeful that answers can be found and this disability can be eliminated.
I have hope. Hope that my Cody man will say “I love you mama” – hope that he can integrate in to the school system – hope that he can overcome the diagnosis that he has been given – hope that I can make a difference.
I want Columbus to share this hope. I want you to come out in hoards, come out with more glow gear than has ever been seen before. Please help me to shine hope for those who are struggling with autism. On April 18, 2014, we are going to LIGHT UP THIS TOWN to make a difference.
Will you come “Light Up Columbus” with me?