Welcome to My Personal Page
Hello everyone! My name is Brandon Bender and on August 27, 2017 I once again will be competing in the Transamerica Chicago Triathlon. Following my successful first race last year, I decided to follow it up by racing again this year while raising money for autism, something I care deeply about. As someone who was born with Asperger Syndrome but was not formally diagnosed until 14 years old, my goal is to inspire children and adults with all forms of autism everywhere and raise funds for the mission of Autism Speaks - enhancing lives today and accelerating a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow.
In my early years, I was a very intelligent and active kid. I loved playing all sports and did well in school. But as I got older, I had noticeable difficulty fitting in socially and making friends and began to struggle academically. Just as things started to improve, I suddenly moved with my family to a new town and state at 11 years old. For any pre-teen, this would be a difficult transition under even the best of circumstances. I, however, did not have the best circumstances as my then-undiagnosed challenges with Asperger's were exposed in the worst way possible. My weird behavior alienated my new classmates and I was picked on and bullied mercilessly by those who wanted no part of it. I self-destructed to unprecedented levels as I got into mounds of trouble at school and was nearly expelled. I made countless exhausting attempts to form friendships but I was unsuccessful in doing so, and as a result, I fell in with the wrong crowd. Once a good student in elementary school, my grades plummeted and I was nearly held back in sixth grade. Feeling hopeless, I became severely depressed to the point where I nearly took my own life at just 12 years old. Talk about heartbreaking. I visited countless doctors during this time, and nobody could come up with a definitive answer for what my problem was... until I was in 8th grade. Once my doctor confirmed that I had Asperger Syndrome, my parents, teachers and I all had a better idea of how to cope with my condition.
While I continued to perform not-so-terrifically in the classroom, by the time I reached high school I had finally formed a great group of friends who became my brothers, and they supported me every step of the way. In fact, it was because of their love and caring that I was able to launch the successful campaign of "Bender For Prom King '09!" my senior year of high school! For a teenager who didn't possess the best social skills, how awesome is that?! From overcoming the odds in middle school on the way to being crowned Prom King my senior year of high school, and to successfully navigating my way through college--at Indiana University, a Big Ten institution--and the workforce without any accommodations, I believe that my story has the potential to inspire a lot of people, especially those who are affected by autism. As an avid fan of the Chicago Blackhawks, Cubs, and many other teams across the country, I want to live my dream of working in the sports industry here in the city of Chicago, and my goal is to have my story reach out to as many people as possible by becoming an inspiration to people everywhere.
Please support me by donating and help me meet my fundraising goal--and you, too, can enhance lives today and accelerate a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow! Thank you very much! Together, we are #BenderStrong!
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