HMEA’s Autism Resource Central is a great organization that I have been involved with in one way or another for most of my life. As a sibling to an autistic brother, William, I have witnessed how the understanding and compassion for individuals on the spectrum has grown since the 1990s when we were children. In grade school, very few of my classmates knew what autism was and honestly a lot of adults did not know much either. I have seen the message change from AWARENESS to ACCEPTANCE, a change representative of a culture that seeks to not just recognize but love all in the community.
My family was part of this event when it was only the walk in the early 2000s. After I graduated from college, I saw that the event was adding a 5K run. The first year I ran, I did not have a team, just one friend and I came to run in honor of my brother. Now this is my 6th year running the event, and William’s 3rd year running. Each year, I have been humbled by the support we receive from all of our family and friends!
After a few years of running in the event, I had some ideas which would help to expand the event to more of the local running community. When I was offered the opportunity to be part of the committee for the 2018 event, I of course said, “YES.” I returned again this year and continue help the committee make the event the best it can be! I am proud to help the Autism Resource Central in this endeavor each year because I know that they help families like mine as they face various hurdles in all life stages. Autism Spectrum Disorder is very diverse and there is no one size fits all, but the Autism Resource Central will help guide you to the best services, latest research, and a community that truly understands what you are facing.
I hope that you will join me on May 5th and come out for a day of running, walking, and family fun in support of a great cause!
Jill Perriera McConnell