Purpose is Power
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I am the proud mom of two beautiful boys, Ethan and Owen. In 2021 Ethan was diagnosed with Autism and so began the process of learning, understanding, and adapting to life with a child whose needs are different from his peers. For sometime, Ethan had struggled in social situations–we’d mostly noted that he was shy, but his shyness was at times paralyzing. It hurt to watch him not be able to enjoy events and places that other children navigated with ease and joy. The impact of this was pervasive; no person in our family was unaffected. If Ethan got anxious or uncomfortable, so did we. Oftentimes we would make changes (bringing two cars to parties, leaving playgrounds early if Ethan was overwhelmed) that directly impacted Owen’s experience and that caused him to miss opportunities that he’d otherwise enjoy. In these moments, it felt like choosing sides–picking one child’s needs and preferences over the others. The guilt of making these decisions was crushing and cruel.
One day I bought a family membership to a local zoo. As we entered I saw a sign indicating that the zoo was sensory friendly and made note to read more about the organization designated on the sign–KultureCity. As I began to scroll through the website I was awestruck. I downloaded the app and we used it that week, over spring break. I shared the social stories found on the app with both boys as we visited several places that were KC certified. Both children liked looking at the pictures and knowing what was to be expected, I felt less anxious because I knew we were prepared. More importantly, there were spaces and tools for us to use if needed; we could do things differently, rather than being denied.
I had been an avid runner for a while before kids, before an Autism diagnosis, before I knew about KultureCity. I have turned to running as an outlet for stress many times in my life and I’m grateful for all that running has given me (health, friendship, and sense of accomplishment). In 2020 I decided that I’d begin working towards running a marathon in all 50 states. While it is a long term goal, I am happy to partner with KCfit along the way. This year I will be running the Chicago Marathon, Antelope Canyon 50 Miler (my first 50), The Flying Pig Marathon and finally New York City 26.2. My goal is to not only fundraise for sensory acceptance and adaptive programs but to share my experience in hopes of helping others. Purpose is powerful and I am excited to run for an organization that I feel deeply connected to.
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Created October 3rd, 2022