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City Pulse: Light up the world with your support of autism awareness

By JR Ortega
Sept. 11, 2013 at 4:11 a.m.

Adam Garcia, 7, center, who is autistic, holds the hand of his  sister, Amgelina Garcia,  during the Autism Awareness Walk at Riverside Park in April. The event also had games and inflatable play structures that helped raise awareness and funds for Autism support.

Imagine having no voice.

You're dying for a Sprite, but please hold the ice - still, nobody understands a word you're saying.

Just think about your son or daughter never being able to utter three simple, powerful words - I love you.

Really, it's hard to even think about what raising a child with autism would be like, and though many of us may not be directly affected by the disorder, we each know or have known somebody somebody who knows somebody.

Two years ago, Advocate photographer Kathleen Duncan and I had the chance to meet four incredibly brave families, each dealing with autism at a different age.

The pain was real, the smiles of the small things in life were welcoming, but most importantly, the awareness shined like a powerful beacon.

Now, those families and other Crossroads families in support of autism awareness will carry that brightness with them at Saturday's 5K Neon Glow Run/Walk.

I'm anticipating it will be a beautiful spectacle, a bright group of people en masse parading down North Street by the Victoria Community Center.

You may feel like you've heard and learned a lot about autism, but I truly encourage you to walk beside them and hear their stories firsthand.

Victoria has grown much in the way of nightlife in the past four years I've lived here. And though an autism walk may seem like a stretch for a fun night out on the town, it really is just that.

You can go out any day of the week to your usual hangouts, but for this weekend, give a little of yourself.

To my knowledge, this is one of the first glow runs Victoria has ever seen. There is plenty of fun to be had with a key purpose in mind.

So go ahead, don your white T-shirt, dust yourself with glow-in-the-dark powder and show just how bright and loud you are not only for yourself but also for those who don't have a voice.



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