Sunday, October 22, 2023

Antarctica - When, Why, and for WHO

!LONG POST WARNING! You may learn, you may laugh, you may cry... hey you may book a flight to do something CRAZY. So keep reading... 

T-52 Days to Antarctica
We are just over 50 days until I trek down through South America and to Antarctica to complete marathon #95 (assuming I get through 1 more 26 mile jaunt between now and then). The 18th  Antarctica Ice Marathon. This race is touted as being "the world's southern most marathon" with challenges such as temperature (typically -10 to -20C), terrain (running on packed snow and ice), torrential winds (10 to 25 knots), and transit (waiting in Chili for clear weather to travel into, run, and travel back from Antarctica). 

Could I have completed my 100 marathon journey a little easier? Run in the states, closer to home, in temperatures much less painful? SURE. But I wanted to do something challenges; something HARD. Why?...


Since my 50 states marathon adventures, I've had 3 wonderful little boys; Michael (7), Mason (6), and Maverick (4). They are all so unique and amazing in their own ways, but our Mavi has a little something extra special - he is a neuro-diverse SUPERHERO. Just short of his third birthday, he was diagnosed with Autism. 

Why do I say Superhero? Because you have never seen STRENGTH and RESILIANCE, until you've seen a child that function, thinks, and operates completely outside of the culture norm and still finds a way to strive. Imagine being raised by a community of people that couldn't understand you and you can't learn the way 95% of them know how to teach you. Now imagine not only thriving, but doing it with a smile, a genuine love for those crazy people that have no idea how to teach you, and a zest for live that inspires others. \

That's what Mav does for me- his strength and ability to blow past the expectations and limiting beliefs of others makes me feel like nothing is impossible.

Autism Support in N. Kentucky and Cincinnati

Mavi has inspired me to use this incredible opportunity to run in honor of him and in support of one amazing group that helps our autism community directly in Cincinnati. 

WHY? KY and OH are 2 of the LOWEST ranked states for autism support and let me tell you, we feel it in the... 

1. CRAZY wait times (8- 12 months) to even get a diagnosis. A critical thing needed to start getting our children the support and therapies they desperately need
2. After getting the diagnosis, you're good right? NOPE. Even longer wait times to get INTO therapies, with trusted places like Cincinnati Children's Speech therapy on a huge wait list. 
3. Revolving door of Doctors to work with. We got our diagnosis a year and a half ago and Children's has lost 2 doctors in a row and will be on our 3rd as soon as they can get one assigned. 
4. 0 direction on how to handle the education system with special needs. We were handed a standard pack of paper on autism and sent on our way. We are feeling around in the dark on a daily basis. 

#4 is the scariest part! Autism is so unique to each person, so navigating a prognosis, needs, plans, medical, behavioral... it's ALL so unique to each child that nothing is standard. Because of that,
it feels like you're navigating a rare disease for the first time in history, instead of navigating something impacting 1 in 36 children today!

With 1 in 36 children being diagnosed on the spectrum (and growing), the medical infrastructure in cities like Cincinnati HAVE to grow. They have to do better. But until the states get better insurance mandates, grants, and inclusion in the ADDM network, group's like...

In honor of Maverick and the difficulty of his journey so far (and into the future) I'm using the biggest running challenge so far, to bring awareness of the immense need of increased autism support. I have partnered with Autism Connections, supporting individuals with autism (and their families) in the greater Cincinnati area, providing: support, training, social programs and HELP to those that feel lost. I've been there... some days I'm still there. But groups like this consist of individuals that choose to make the time to give families like ours support, so we feel a little less alone. 

My Goal: Raise $10,000 for Autism Connections and help bring critical funding to this group doing so much for the autism families of the greater Cincinnati area. ALL donations stay local to Cincinnati.

I'll be sharing more on: this wonderful charity, my journey (both autism parenting and running), and so much more on my way to Antarctica. Please consider supporting me, Mavi, and Autism connections in this "Antarctica for Autism" fundraiser:

Keeping up my mileage, Achilles pain, finding the right shoes for snow, and adapting to cold weather... QUICKLY!

Keep Running,

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