My name is Chris Barnet and I am raising funds for the mission of Autism Speaks.
On August 20th, 2022 I will be running the Leadville Trail 100 ultra martathon, The legendary "Race Across The Sky". The race started back in 1983 in the small mining town of Leadville, Colorado and is the most challenging ultra marathon in the world, exposing its runners to life threatening altitudes across the 100 miles through the Colorado mountains. The difficulty of this route cannot be under-estimated, as every year less than half of the starting field make it to the finish line.
The race consists of 100 miles of extreme Colorado Rockies terrain-from elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet, reaching some of the highest altitudes in the United States of America. Imagine breathing through a straw for 25 hours straight and you will get the idea. At the same time, imagine your life trying to take care of a special needs child with Autism.
Like the 100 mile journey I am setting out on, my nephew and Godson, Cameron, is on his own journey, an autism journey. Cameron’s parents, Brittany and Eric, noticed he was missing milestones and developmentally delayed. He was officially diagnosed with Level-3 Autism Spectrum Disorder just after he turned two years old.
Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States. Families, like those of my sister, basically learn to navigate the autism world on their own. The resources Autism Speaks provides are instramental in aiding, teaching, and supporting the immediate and extended family through this lifelong journey.
Everyday Cameron attends a special-needs school and private therapies. He receives ABA, speech (he is currently nonverbal), OT and PT from dedicated therapists. While he is currently low-functioning, the smallest of victories are a huge win and are helping pave the way for a more functional future. But, like any parent who has received this diagnosis for their child, there is no crystal ball. They will not know what the future brings for him or them. What we know for certain is his smile and laugh brighten the room and touch the hearts of everyone he knows.
August 20th, 2022 I am running for Cameron. I am running for the parents, siblings, and families who struggle with this diagnosis and the hurdles it brings. I am running for Autism Speaks so they can continue to serve this community. I am and will forever be part of team Cameron’s Crusaders.
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