Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

November 3, 2013

Event raises autism awareness

HAHIRA — More than a hundred runners and supporters gathered Saturday for an event aimed at increasing local awareness of autism.

Embrace the Amazing, the first annual 5K hosted by the Family Autism Support Team, kicked off at 8 a.m. at the Valdosta Middle School track.

“It’s the first annual one that Valdosta has ever had,” said Ashley Jones, FAST president, “and it’s all about our community coming together to help autism get the awareness it deserves and needs.”

FAST began earlier this year and serves as a support group for parents with children diagnosed with autism.

Saturday’s 5K was their first big event.

“We’ve raised over $4,000 so far, and that’s great for our first year,” said Jones. “Hopefully, everyone will see the awareness we’ve raised today and will want to

participate next year.”

The money raised will be given to the Moody Air Force Base Exceptional Family Member Program and used to support further projects by FAST.

FAST holds monthly meetings where they discuss concerns, host guest speakers and review ways to best design Individualized Education Programs in cooperation with local schools.

“Valdosta definitely needed an outlet for families with children with autism,” said Lisa Harken, FAST secretary and mother of an autistic son, “We hope to raise awareness because it’s not just the parents. It’s a community effort. A lot of the time parents can just feel lost.”

For more information, check out the website http://fastvaldosta.weebly.com

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