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Speak Up and Walk for Autism

By Elena Douvanis

Is it just me, or does everyone seem more time-starved than ever these days? Personally, it’s hard for me to find time for two things I would really like to do more: exercise and participate in charitable activities.

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My answer? 5Ks. I ran my first 5K last August in Philly for LIVESTRONG, and I love these events. Lots of people show up, there’s positive energy in the air, everyone is excited to do something for a good cause — and work up a little sweat while doing so.

Next up on the 5K calendar: Walk Now for Autism Speaks on Saturday, April 17 at the Lehigh Parkway in Allentown. April is Autism Awareness month; the disorder affects one in every 110 American children, according to recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control. The event is Autism Speaks’ signature event to raise money for autism research and strives to increase awareness about autism spectrum disorders. Walks just like the one in Allentown this Saturday will also take place in other communities across the United States, as well as in Canada and the United Kingdom.

My boyfriend and I are walking for his cousin, Ben Odhner, as part of the Lehigh Valley Health Network Valley Preferred Team. This compelling video, put together by family friend and photographer Rachel Gardam, does a fantastic job of capturing Ben and what it’s like to live with an autistic child.

You can register online up to the day of the event, or you can also register on-site Saturday. If you want to donate to my team, go to my personal page. It will take place rain or shine. Will I see you there?

Walk Now for Autism Speaks; Lehigh Parkway, Allentown, Saturday, April 17. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. and the walk kicks off at 10:00 a.m. Questions? Call 888/777-6227, ext. 7339 or email lehighvalley@autismspeaks.org.

Elena Douvanis is a Bethlehem native, proud Penn State alum, and current Philadelphia resident. In her spare time, she likes to rediscover the Lehigh Valley, eat good food, read in an addictive fashion, and listen to John Mayer songs. Keep up with Elena on Twitter: http://twitter.com/elenadouvanis

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3 Responses

04.13.10

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What a wonderful article to help educate people on Autism. We are unable to participate in the walk, but have made a donation to a very special team:

” alan is my best little brother”

Please take a minute and go to the site and make a donation to your special team or mine! The children, their families and research need your help.

04.13.10

Thanks, Marsha! Best of luck to the team you are supporting. 🙂

04.13.10

Your CommentsThank you for doing this!! Being Ben’s mom is an amazing journey…. and I am grateful for all the people who try to make life for families with autism a little better!!! We have come a long way and I am blessed by the efforts of other caring people

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