Running the Pittsburgh Marathon Blindfolded
By running the 2013 Pittsburgh Marathon blindfolded, my hopes were to gain a better understanding of what my 8 year old visually impaired and autistic daughter Cassie deals with on a daily basis. Little did I know at the time, I would also get a trifecta of challenges; a double dose of her difficulties accompanied with a battle of attrition of my middle aged body and the streets of Pittsburgh.
At approximately mile 14 Jim Irvin and I ran through the Shadyside neighborhood. The encouragement from the crowd was absolutely amazing. Pittsburgher’s were cheering loudly and a rock band was blaring inspirational music from what seemed to be an 8 foot speaker. Jim (my sighted guide) needed to give me verbal commands to make a turn. It was a right hand turn towards all the noise. My first instinct was to gravitate to the left; away from the noise. For the first time in my life, I experienced over stimulation or sensory overload. This is a common processing disorder of autistic children. I compare that experience like being in a dark haunted house; instinctively you want to go away from the noise.
It is because of our Shadyside experience, Jim and I decided to do it again on May 4, 2014. Jim and I will once again be tethered together on a 26.2 mile blindfolded journey. This time to raise awareness and generate funding for Autism Speaks. Thank you for your continued kindness and support.
Here is the Autism Speaks link to their site and some info about them to help people better understand where all donations are going to and the wonderful work that is being done to help the visually impaired.
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. Their longtime friend Bernie Marcus donated $25 million to help financially launch the organization. Since then, Autism Speaks has grown into the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and look forward to continued successes in the years ahead.
To read more about Autism Speaks’ awareness, fundraising, science, and advocacy efforts, or to read about some of our other exciting initiatives, please visit our News Section.