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One racer's reasoning for running longer than she ever has

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This post is by Pam McCray, a 24 year-old sports reporter I'm a sports reporter for The Republican newspaper in Springfield, Massachusetts. She is an athlete that is devoted to her nephew with autism.


Running for a cure – that’s my goal.

“One person can make a difference, and every person should try.” - John F. Kennedy

I first heard that quote from a former colleague. If that doesn’t inspire you, hopefully the next couple paragraphs will.

Whether or not you have a connection to autism, please take a few minutes to read this. I’m not just doing this to get donations; I’m doing this to spread awareness, too.

Autism is a disorder that affects children in varying degrees, including difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. If you know someone with autism, you know the constant struggles that they and their families are faced with.

Autism is something that hits home for me. My five year old nephew, Cullen has autism. He is my inspiration for the adventure on which I’m about to embark.

Cullen is an amazing kid – sweet, loving, kind, and full of life. Unfortunately, every single day of his life is a struggle because of autism. Sometimes he can’t handle even the smallest changes; sometimes it’s a large group on holidays that affects him. It’s a day to day adventure with Cullen and unfortunately, millions of children go through the same fight.

My sister and brother in-law certainly have their hands full and it amazes me every day with what they go through. For a full year, my sister drove 30 miles each way, every day, to bring Cullen to a school that specialized in care for children with developmental disabilities, including autism. They’ll do anything to make his life a little better, and the worst part is, I know he may never lead a typical life.

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The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.