One out of every 68 children is diagnosed with Autism, and because this developmental disorder is seen more in boys than girls, one out of every 42 boys is diagnosed.
ETSU’s sorority chapter Alpha Xi Delta worked with Autism Speaks on Friday to hold their annual “Amaxing Challenge 5k Run” at the VA Medical Center Park.
Families were encouraged to join the pre-race activities such as face painting and tossing games.
The financial goal for this year was to raise $7,000 and spread awareness.
“Autism Speaks is our Nation’s Philanthropy that Alpha Xi Delta adopted in 2009,” said Ryan Andes, philanthropy chair of Alpha Xi Delta. “There is no cure for Autism, so we try to do everything we can to bring awareness to such a rare disorder.”
Runners and walkers who pre-registered for the race paid $25, groups paid $20 for each individual runner or walker and children under 12 paid $5.
“A lot of events are hard when you are not only trying to get the campus involved but the community as well,” Alpha Xi Delta’s Brittany Steinhardt said.
Participants were given glow in the dark t-shirts, bracelets, necklaces and glasses that represented the event and the importance of Autism awareness.
“All Alpha Xi Deltas around the United States raise money for Autism Speaks,” Steinhardt said. “Seeing everyone out here for this event, despite the cold, and helping for this great cause makes me really happy.”
Steinhardt also mentioned that since there is no cure for Autism, the money raised for Autism Speaks not only goes toward research, but it helps families get the required therapy and treatments for kids. This financial assistance is crucial for some families when it is estimated that the cost of one child is $40,000.
“For some of us in Alpha Xi Delta, this hits really close to home,” Alpha Xi Delta’s Chelsea Carter said. “Some of us have family members who are Autistic. It makes it an even greater cause when around 200 people show up, and you realize they do care whether it hits home for them or not.”
This year, 220 participants were in the race, which is more than the 120 runners and walkers that raced last year.
“I feel like it’s a really good way to raise awareness, especially for Autism Speaks, which is a really good organization for its cause,” said ETSU student Chris Pershing.
“I would run it again next year. Definitely.”