Mary Foley is the Jacksonville Walk Chair.
If someone had told me a year and a half ago that I would be the 2012 Chairperson for Jacksonville’s Walk Now for Autism Speaks, I would have laughed at them! Of course, here I am, this year’s chairperson and feel like I have been given the greatest opportunity to raise awareness for autism, which affects my son and countless others. Then, I was asked, “Why do you walk?” It really made me think about what I was trying to accomplish by participating in Jacksonville’s walk. The more I thought about it, the clearer my answers became and this is why I walk:
I walk because not one day goes by that I do not think how lucky we are that Kyan received an early diagnosis. I want to raise awareness so people know that children CAN be diagnosed early and that detection can make a HUGE difference in their child’s life!
I walk because I know raising a child with autism is not easy, and our life certainly is not easy; but, I do know that there are other families out there raising children with autism and their lives are much more difficult than ours. I walk for them with the hopes that maybe one day there will be a new treatment or even a cure that makes life just a little bit easier.
I walk because I get those “looks” – the ones people give because they think Kyan is an unruly, misbehaving 3-year old over whom I have no control. I have read or heard comments that un-informed or misinformed people have carelessly made. I walk so that people can become more educated on the subject of autism.
Of course, MOST IMPORTANTLY, I walk for Kyan, my 3-year old son who makes me smile EVERY SINGLE DAY. He has impacted not only my life, but also the lives of EVERY family member and friend we have. He has taught me to be a better mother and a better person and has made me stronger than I ever thought possible. I thank God every day that we were chosen to be Kyan’s parents and I WALK FOR HIM!