This guest post is by Autism Speaks Staffer Ann Gibbons.
This Friday 500 cyclists will participate in the 8th annual Bike to the Beach benefitting Autism Speaks. Bike to the Beach is a 105-mile bike ride from Washington D.C. to Dewey Beach, DE. Among those riders, will be Allen Parvizian and his 10-year old autistic son, Cameron.
Cameron will be the youngest participant in Bike to the Beach’s history. He will be joined by his father, Allen, and 27 other Team APJL Parvizian teammates, which include family, friends, and relatives. At the finish line, over 100 supporters from family and friends will be waiting to cheer Cameron on and hopefully celebrate his success.
Team APJL Parvizian has been Bike to the Beach’s number one fundraising team for the past five years raising over $280,000 for Autism Speaks.
Diagnosed at 18 months old with PDD-NOS, Cameron has always loved sports and the outdoors, however was never was able to work well in team sports. Allen and his wife, Goli, found that Cameron could channel his energy through individual life sports such as swimming, running, tennis, and a little golf. Cameron has also always loved bike riding, but more recreationally.
It was earlier in the year, when Cameron saw an Autism Speaks puzzle piece on somebody’s car, and immediately shouted out, “Hey dad, look! It’s Bike to the Beach!” The puzzle piece is actually the symbol which Autism Speaks uses as part of their logo and is all over the Bike to the Beach logos and promotional material as well. Cameron just associated the puzzle with the bike ride. Cameron does not know he has autism, nor does he know what autism is. Allen turned to Cameron and said, “Yes Cameron, that’s right! Bike to the Beach has the puzzle. Cameron, do you want to ride to the beach one day? Cameron says, “Yes daddy. This summer?” Allen responded, “sure Cameron!” While in his head absorbing the conversation he just had with his son. Allen had always dreamed of his son riding by his side and Cameron’s desire to do so meant it was time.
Please support Cameron’s ride with a donation to his page today here.