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Dan Marino Foundation honors World Autism Month with virtual run
South Florida Sun Sentinel - 3/20/2021
After temporarily pausing its annual charity event, the Dan Marino Foundation’s autism awareness fundraiser is set to return virtually from April 2 to 13.
In commemoration of World Autism Awareness Day and World Autism Month, the virtual fundraiser — “1.3 With Me for Autism” — will provide the community the opportunity to raise awareness about autism while running or walking 1.3 miles or more at their own pace.
Participants can join individually or create a team with friends, family or co-workers to help raise funds benefitting the Dan Marino Foundation as well as the autism community.
“In the past, we’ve had a walk called ‘WalkAbout [Autism],’” said Tammy Long, the foundation’s director of community engagement and events. “It went away. Our venue went under construction. So, we have had a lot of interest from people to bring the walk back. But, given the way things are right now, we can’t really have large groups. We figured, why don’t we just try to get the walk back up and running?
“April is Autism Awareness Month, so what better time to bring this out?” she said. “That’s how it came about. Let’s just try to do this virtually. We chose a short distance. Usually, our walk in the past has never been associated with any type of distance. It’s mainly an awareness for the community type of event.”
The Dan Marino Foundation, which helps empower individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities, was started in 1992 by Dan and Claire Marino shortly after their son Michael’s autism diagnosis. Individuals tickets are $25 and will directly benefit the foundation and its efforts.
With $1,992 raised so far, individuals are also able to make additional donations to assist the nonprofit in reaching its fundraising goal.
“The registration is a donation at the same time,” Long said. “It’s a flat donation to the organization and the foundation. Our big thing is money here stays here in South Florida. That’s our main goal to assist those in our own community and not to send those dollars outside of our community.”
Schools also have the opportunity to create a team and raise funds for their own special needs programming. If a minimum of $250 is raised, 20% of what the school raises will go back to its own special needs programming.
“That’s something that came from our original walk,” Long said. “Schools’ funding have been cut as well. So, what better way for them to work with their students?... If you have children of your own, you know schools are always fundraising and looking for money for their own projects. So, this is a great opportunity for the ASD community and those teachers to get involved.”
(c)2021 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
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