As part of National Autism Awareness Month, the Winchester area held the first Trails 4 Miles Race for Autism.
“We really come in with the idea of embracing everyone and their differences and I think that sometimes kids that are on the autism spectrum, or have different styles of learning, are bullied more often than others,” said Tina Stevens-Culbreath, founder of the I’m Just Me Movement.
For some organizers and volunteers, the cause was personal.
“I have a child with severe autism and it’s very important for the community as well to know that people with autism have a right to be to in the community. That they bring many gifts and have many talents,” said Nichole Angle executive director of The Arc of the Northern Shenandoah Valley
Allen Sibert also has a child with autism and he has a few pieces of advice for parents of special needs children.
“Just because they’re different or have special needs doesn’t mean that they should just stay home all the time. Don’t worry about your comfort zone, make the world your comfort zone. By that, you’re including your children in things and making them a better person and you’re making the people around them better people,” said Frederick County sheriff candidate Allen Sibert.
Several sponsors came together to make the race possible. The event was hosted by Frederick County Parks & Recreation and Grafton Integrated Health Network. The title sponsor was New Horizon Professionals ABA.
“I think it’s just really great for everyone to know that everyone with autism is different.You’re not going to find two people alike and we just need to bring awareness to autism and those individuals with autism,” said Nicole Vanzandt of New Horizons.
All proceeds from the race went to The Arc of the Northern Shenandoah Valley and the I’m Just Me Movement. Organizers say they are happy with the success of their first race and this definitely will not be the last.