This year marks the 20th annual Eden Autism 5K & Fun Run/Walk. Our family has been participating in this great event for 15 of those years, ever since my daughter Brielle became a part of the Eden family at age 6. Last month, she graduated the Eden school and was welcomed into Eden’s adult program.
For all autism families, the transition from school to adult life is stressful and complicated. Brielle is lucky to have a spot in Eden’s adult program, and we are hopeful she will continue to be cared for and taught by the incredible staff at Eden for years to come.
Founded in 1975, Eden was among the first providers to address the need for autism services throughout the lifespan, from the point of diagnosis through adulthood. Eden’s adult services include employment training and placement, residential programs and recreation. In order to provide the highest level of essential services that Eden gives to those like Brielle, fundraising is critical.
In New Jersey, 1 in 35 children were identified with an autism spectrum disorder in 2020. Those children grow into adults. There is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people with autism have. My beautiful Brielle is on the most severe end of the spectrum. She is non-verbal, has severe challenges and will require substantial support for the rest of her life.
For our family, the Eden Autism 5K & Fun Run/Walk has become an annual ritual. Dozens of friends and family members show their support, whether they run, walk, volunteer, cheer or donate. This year's event is on Sunday, October 1.
My goal again is to raise $5,000, which my incredible company has pledged to match. I have met my goal every year, thanks to all of you. Please help me do so again this year!