some men run

Luau running the Boston Marathon, 2010

**

As many of you know, my husband runs.

A lot.

Like Forrest Gump kind of a lot.

He runs for his health. He runs for his sanity.

He runs because running is where he finds freedom.

But this November, he will be running for our children.

He will be putting one foot in front of the other for just over twenty-six miles as he joins thousands of other runners in the New York City Marathon.

Each and every footfall of each and every mile will be dedicated to making a better life for our kids.

You see, when the going gets tough, some men run.

Thankfully, my husband is one of them.

Below is the story in his own words, from his blog Run Luau Run.

Please support him if you can.

Thank you!

My Little Brooke

On November 7th, 2010 I will be running the ING New York City Marathon. It will be my 4th, possibly 5th, marathon, but it will be the first that I run representing a charity. I have chosen a charity that is very close to my heart – Autism Speaks. My daughter, Brooke has autism. She was diagnosed over 3 years ago and when my wife and I were told the news, there was very little support out there. In the time since then, the tools and resources available to families with new diagnoses have come a very long way. Part of that is due in large part to the efforts of Autism Speaks.

They have been a tireless advocate of awareness, something both the wife and I strongly believe in.

Ignorance is the parent of fear and cruelty.

In an ignorant world, my daughter would have been called a brat, a willful child, or worse, stupid. In an ignorant world she would have been constantly punished for behavior that she is unable to control without assistance. In an ignorant world, my daughter may well have been looked upon with disapproval and judgement from both teachers and peers. Thanks in part to the efforts of Autism Speaks and charities like it, my daughter does not live in a world of ignorance. We may not be where we need to be yet, but we are on our way.

Awareness is the parent of understanding and compassion.

With awareness comes understanding which can eventually lead to compassion. I have been amazed how people have responded to my little Brooke once they know what she has to deal with on a daily basis. Once they understand that a room full of talking children can literally be a painful assault on her ears, or that trying to follow what a teacher is saying in class can be as if you were trying to understand a lecture on economics by a professor who spoke 4 out of 5 words in a language you didn’t understand, or that a simple, repetitive sound that you or I simply block out as white noise becomes an itch that she cannot possibly hope to scratch; once people understand this, their awareness quickly turns to compassion. People start looking out for Brooke because they know that in the end, she is just like any one of us, just a little different in how she perceives the world.

I believe that the more people I can make aware of autism and its effects on both those who have it and their families, the better the world will be when my little girl grows up. The wife and I have, from a very early point, been fairly public about autism, Brooke and our family. Not everyone chooses to “come out” if you will, and I have grown to accept and even understand that. By the same token, I feel that as long as autism is kept in a dark corner, hidden away as something to be ashamed of, then ignorance, fear and cruelty will continue to exist and grow.

Running for awareness.

And so I run. This November I will run to help push the boundaries of awareness. I will talk to anyone who asks about the lows and highs (yes, highs) of having a child on the autism spectrum. I will encourage people to speak loud and speak proud of their children or themselves. I will remind parents that no victory is too small to cheer and that no defeat is too large to throw in the towel.

Autism Speaks is a charity I respect and have a passion for. They do so much and work so hard to make the world a better place for my Brooke, for both today and tomorrow. But it’s not just my Brooklet that they are helping. Everyday a new family is devastated with the news that someone in their family, whether they are 3, 13 or 23 years old, has been diagnosed with autism. I have had many friends come to me over the past year asking questions and expressing concerns about their own children. With resources like the First 100 Days Kit, these families are now able to find the tools to help ease that initial pain and start moving in a positive direction.

So I am asking you to help me help my little Brooke and all the families out there affected by autism. You can do that by clicking

—>HERE<—

The link will take you directly to my fundraising page for this year’s New York City Marathon. I have committed to raising at least $2600. Most of the funds that Autism Speaks raises go to research, but a portion of them also go directly to grants that are reviewed by parents of children with autism. They make an effort to ensure that the funds they distribute can benefit many of us directly. Autism Speaks is truly working to make the world a better place both today AND tomorrow. I know that many of you have helped me in the past when our family has done the Autism Speaks Walks. I am truly grateful for that, and I am asking for your help once again.

Having learned to walk, it’s now time for me to run. I hope that you will support me as I try to make the world just a little more aware, a little more understanding, a little more compassionate.

Thank you so much.

Help Me Help Brooke To Fly

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13 thoughts on “some men run

  1. Ya’ll are really class acts aren’t ya! Thanks Luau, we will be supporting you and we appreciate your willingness to run and speak unabashedly about autism, yes the highs and the lows!
    S~

  2. It’s great that he is running but no thanks to Autism Speaks. I wouldn’t give them a dime. Age of Autism, as well as Katie Wright, has done a good job exposing them and where the money really goes and it’s not to our kids.

    • I agree. wrong charity luau.: (

      what about organization for autism research, or autism science foundation. that is where the board does consider empirically based treatments and the money does not go towards continued dead end vaccination research.

      but your dedication to awareness is commendable.

    • jen, meredith and s’s and t’s mom ~ thank you for voicing your concerns, and for doing so the way that you did.

      luau and i believe that there are myriad worthy autism charities out there, scores of whom are doing vital work and providing necessary services for our children and others affected by autism.

      we choose to support autism speaks (among others) because, as a family, we believe in their awareness efforts, the resources that they provide (particularly for the newly diagnosed and their families) and the enormous legislative power that they wield. we also believe that while their particular focus may be only a piece of the puzzle, their research and data gathering efforts are vital to understanding autism and ultimately making a better life for our kids.

      i once wrote:

      “Like all of us, Autism Speaks is a work in progress. It is a living, breathing organism – and it’s fallible.” (see the post in its entirety here .. http://adiaryofamom.wordpress.com/2010/03/11/autism-speaks-and-listens/).

      but love em or hate em, they have influence. i choose to remain a partner with them and to try to help guide them toward most accurately representing my family, since, quite frankly, they will with or without my voice in the conversation. i’d rather be a part of it.

      however, while autism speaks has dipped a toe in the water of providing services, it’s important to realize that they are still focused almost entirely on research, awareness and legislation, leaving funding for services still dramatically wanting.

      so we also work hard to support our local, grassroots autism family support center. they operate on a shoe string and bring vital services to our community.

      i don’t know of a single organization out there that can be all things to all people, so i believe its up to each of us to prioritize our own efforts – never an easy task when we all already have so much on our respective plates.

      again, thank you for expressing your opinions.

      to others, below are the links to the organizations that jen and s’s and t’s mom referenced above …

      http://www.ageofautism.com/

      http://www.ageofautism.com/katie-wright/ (katie wright is a contributor to age of autism .. this is a link to her posts there. i don’t think she has her own site, but please correct me if i’m wrong!)

      http://www.researchautism.org/

      http://www.autismsciencefoundation.org/

      ~

  3. He writes as beautifully as you do ~ it brought tears to my eyes! Love the picture of Luau & Brooke captioned “Help Me Help Brooke To Fly”. I feel the very same way about my own son!

    Bravo Luau and Jess for doing such a wonderful job of helping to raise awareness ~ knowledge is power! Also, kudos to you Jess on your diplomacy and for putting up the links for the other Autism organizations.

  4. I was a team captain for our local Autism Speaks walk and my team proudly raised $2815.

    As you said, no organization is perfect. I am sure the two of you did your research before commiting to this.

    Bless you both.

  5. Hi :)

    This is great!!! So glad that I can make a donation to your team after all the support you gave to Courtney’s Crew :)

    - Courtney

  6. Jess, things are tough here in Michigan, but I was able to donate $20 to Luau’s run. It was the least I could do for all of the knowledge, tears, and experiences that you have shared and I have cherished in knowing that none of us are in this thing alone. RUN LUAU RUN! Thanks so much for keeping your blog going!

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