ETSU’s Alpha Xi Delta chapter held their sixth annual Amaxing Challenge: Light It Up Blue Glow Run 5k race on April 22 in order to raise awareness for autism and Autism Speaks.

The race is held each year either on campus or adjacent, in order to get the community involved.

“The goal for the race is to raise money and awareness for Autism Speaks,” said Ryan Andes, Philanthropy Chair of Alpha Xi Delta at ETSU.

Although this is the sixth annual race, this is only the second time they have organized a “glow run” event.

“The saying is ‘Light it Up Blue,’ so we have glow sticks and glow necklaces and glow glasses,” said Jordan Smith, Vice President of Programs. “The girls will come and wear blue tutus or paint their faces blue and things like that.”

The sorority had 154 participants signed up prior to the race this year, but the total was expected to increase as registration was open until the 5k race kicked off.

Participants were able to register early for $30, while individuals paid $35 on the day of the race. Teams could form for $25, while children under 12 cost $15.

The chapter hopes to not only raise awareness within the campus community but throughout the Johnson City community as well.  They have accomplished this by using fliers and posting on social media.

“We get in contact with local news stations to try to go on the air with them,” Smith said. “It’s really just reaching out. We have alumni who will reach out and talk to their friends and sisters in the area, who have family here, their families will talk to their friends.”

The sorority also reaches out to local autism societies and they spread the word to local families, who are personally impacted by autism.

Last year’s goal was to raise $7,000, and the total raised in the end was approximately $11,000, which is the total expected again this year.

For anyone interested in participating but unaware of the event this year, it should be held around the same time next April and hopefully won’t fall victim to an April shower.

“Oh, of course we’re still having it,” Smith said. “There is no option of cancelling.”

Although the organization strives to raise money to benefit Autism Speaks, the goal is to raise local and national awareness for autism.

“We just want to make the Johnson City community aware that autism is very prevalent in the area and that is something we’re very passionate about,” Smith said.