Autism Cares Foundation 5k Run-10K Run, Family Walk and Autism Expo
Sponsored by Bucks County Autism Support Coalition
JoinAutism Cares Foundation as we run and walk to change the outlook for all who are affected by autism!
Autism Cares Foundation’s 5th Annual Race is a Major Success
Showing how much love is in their hearts, community members came out in full force for the recent Autism Cares Foundation’s 5th Annual Race for Resources.
It was a crisp 40 degree day, but everyone around was warmed by deep-felt hugs and great enthusiasm for the Autism Cares Foundation and its race, which is one of the most important fund-raising events of the year. It was truly a day of memorable moments.
Some 1,000 children and adults — runners, walkers, supporters, family members and friends – were there on Saturday, Nov. 8, at TylerState Park in Richboro, to raise money for children and young adults with autism and their families, and spread the message of acceptance. More than 100 volunteers, many of them local high school and college students, kept the race running smoothly.
The event raised more than $100,000, and the money will be used for social outings, special events and life skills programs for children and young adults with autism and their families.
Since its inception nearly six years ago, the Autism Cares Foundation has provided 500 free events and programs to local families. More than 4,000 children, teens, young adults and their family members have participated in these events.
“What an inspiration it was to see the community come together to help their loved ones and friends they care about with autism,” said Linda Kuepper, ACF Co-Founder and CEO, who started the group with her husband, Frank, in 2008.
“To see that crowd of people and realize the resounding success of our race is a true testament to the love we have from our community,” said Linda Kuepper.
The Kuepper’s 19-year-old son, Frankie, looked around at all of the people gathered to support the Foundation with great pride. “It is totally energizing and invigorating, because it is not just about our cause; it’s about helping the greater community. This is nothing short of sensational,” he said.
“It is hard to believe what has grown from those first days talking about it at our kitchen table,” Frankie Kuepper said. “Each year more and more people come out and allow us to expand our reach of services.”
The many participants who walked and ran were members of the various teams that had formed over the past few months. They proudly wore their team T-shirts, and cheered for their team members. They agreed that at this race, everyone was a winner.
Many of them said that they have come to the race each year to improve the lives of a son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, niece, nephew, sister, brother, friend, or neighbor, who has autism.
The Race for Resources was not only a way to help children with autism; it was a great deal of fun. There was face painting, balloons, music, a rock climbing wall, a bounce castle, video games, and other entertainment.
Cheerleaders from Penn State Abington encouraged the racers at the finish line. There was also a rousing visit from a very tall and green special guest, also known as the Phillies Phanatic.
There was also plenty of food to munch on: bagels, pretzels, popcorn, hot dogs, cookies, bottles of water, and piping hot coffee – nearly all of it donated by local businesses.
In addition to the 5K and 10K Run, and Family Fun Walk with a poker game and prizes, there was an Autism Expo with 30 service providers who eagerly shared what programs are available to local families.
The reason this special event is called the Race for Resources is because most families caring for a loved one with autism understand that there is a major gap between what a parent wants for his or her child and the resources that the system provides.
This becomes even more pronounced as the child moves towards adulthood. A primary concern of these families is who will care for the loved one, and where will they live, when the parents can no longer provide the care themselves.
There are presently not enough facilities to provide for residential care for people having autism and waiting lists can extend for years. The Foundation is doing everything possible to help provide these resources and give these families a way to take a sigh of relief from the stresses they face.
The successful event marks another milestone for the Foundation, which recently opened its first Resource Center on Second Street Pike in Southampton, PA., where the Glee Club is the first of many programs and events that will be hosted there.
It is also means the Foundation is one step closer to its ambitious plan of developing a comprehensive Autism Center of Excellence and Life Enrichment Facility, providing people with autism a place to learn life skills, job skills, and eventually a place to call home, which is desperately needed in the community.
“Our dedicated volunteers, parents, business leaders, consultants and other professionals continue to work diligently toward bringing our vision to fruition,” said Fred Sciascia, who is on the Foundation’s board of directors.
We look forward to seeing you at the event!