Fun run promotes autism awareness
April is National Autism Awareness Month, and in support Kamiak High School is sponsoring a fun run to raise awareness of autism and Asperger’s.
UKnight for Autism, to be held April 20, is a three-mile race around the Kamiak track – although it’s OK to walk it or roll it (in a wheelchair), too. The race is set to start at 9 a.m.
All proceeds from the race will benefit the non-profit All Aboard, a local organization that helps adults 18 and older with special needs lead active lives.
Kamiak seniors Joey Davis and Andrew Weyers, who organized the race, were inspired by their friendships with Life Skills students at Kamiak to host a fundraiser in support of autism and Asperger syndrome, an autistic spectrum disorder.
Joey and Andrew are in Leadership and, as part of the class, they visit the Life Skills students’ classroom to talk and play card games once a week. They soon made it a goal to host an event to not only benefit their friends but others with autism in the community.
It was Davis’ idea to make UKnight For Autism a race: He’s been on Kamiak’s cross-country and track team for four years. He also had a friend on the team who has Asperger’s. His friend graduated last year.
“I got to see his outlook on life, and how he coped with his [disorder], and it matured me on my perspective [toward] others,” Davis said. “I really want to find a way to give back to my community, and promote the awareness of autism and Asperger’s.”
The motto for the race is “Run, Walk or Fly Your Way to the Finish,” to signify that anyone can sign up for the race – this event is not just for experienced runners.
“The race is just a way for us to give back to a local organization,” Weyers said. “The course is wheelchair accessible, so anyone can run or walk in the race.”
Race T-shirts feature artwork from Kamiak Life Skills student Trevin Leon. Trevin, a junior, included a drawing of a cheetah, an elephant and a macaw in his design, to fit the race’s motto. They are three of his favorite animals. Those who registered before April 6 received a free T-shirt.
Already, more than 100 supporters have signed up for the race and helped to raise $2,500. Davis and Weyers would like to see those numbers double by April 20. Their biggest goal, however, is to promote awareness and understanding.
“My hope is that people will to start look at abilities in others, rather than disabilities,” Davis said.
Prizes will be awarded to race winners in five divisions. All ages and abilities are welcome to participate.
Registration is $30 and includes a bracelet and race bib. Register online by April 19 at www.active.com/running/mukilteo-wa/uknight-for-autism-3-mile-fun-run-2013 or at Kamiak the day of the race. Or donate directly to All Aboard at www.allaboardwa.org.
For more information, go to the UKnight for Autism Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zoe Jovanovich is an intern for the Mukilteo Beacon.