More than 2,000 runners and walkers assembled on Saturday morning in downtown
There were cheerleaders from
Another 200 supporters, vendors and volunteers showed up for the event, described as the largest charity affair staged at
This year's event raised more than
"We're just thrilled with the results," she said.
The runners covered five kilometers (3.1 miles) on downtown streets and the
The winning male-female runners were
The event is marked by the teams or crews wearing matching T-shirts in various colors and with different messages in personal support of individuals with autism.
The teams are most often extended families and friends of those who have autistic children. The connection is strong among participants and generates a community feel.
He was a rookie at the fundraising event. A friend has an autistic child and he thought it was important to get involved and to help, he said.
Schwartzhoff pushed his 2-year-old son, Owen, who rode on a mini-bike.
The 70-year-old from
He said he was running with a friend, who has an autistic son.
"You feel good helping out groups like this. ... They are good people and as pure as any that our society has left," Eck said. "It's feels good to do a small part to help."
"This is the kind of event where everyone wants to help and get involved," said the 28-year-old, who has an autistic son.
The local group, with two paid staffers and 250 volunteers, serves
It works to increase public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the autism spectrum, advocating for appropriate services and providing educational opportunities and support for families, providers, doctors, educators and others on how to best support someone with autism.
Autism spectrum disorder is a neuro-psychiatric disorder that afflicts 1 million American children. It is characterized by a deficit in social interaction and verbal and nonverbal communications and by restricted and repetitive behavior. It affects perceptions and relationships.
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