Friday, July 3, 2009

Why am I doing this event?

The first time I saw a child with autism I knew that I would like to help the affected children and families. Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. The cause and cure remain unknown.
The Els for Autism is a non-profit organization started by South African golfing legend Ernie Els after his son Ben was diagnosed with autism. The foundation was established in the spring of 2009 and aims to:

1. Fund scientific research aimed at understanding Autism and developing knowledge-based treatments.
2. Fund Centers of Excellence which include all of the following:
- Educational programs for students age 3-21 years
- A services component of doctors, speech therapists and other specialists
- An on-site research center
- A continuing services program for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

I contacted the Els for Autism as I wanted to enter the 2010 Marathon Des Sables and run the event for Ben and raise awareness of autism here in Dubai and around the world. Funds raised will go to the Dubai Autism Center to assist with special education programs, creative and speech communication therapies and assist families affected with autism here in the UAE and assist them to get through very testing times.

The response I got from the Els for Autism foundation`s Executive Director Susan Hollo was very positive and her email from the 12 June 2009 reads:


How thrilling, we’d love to have to have you running under the Els for Autism banner. It appears from some of the press information I read that you will need our logo. I’ve attached it.

You’re right that finding a cure for Autism and providing all the necessary services for children on the autism spectrum is a top priority for Ernie and he’ll be delighted to know that you share his passion. We’ll be anxious to know how you’re progressing and wish you great good fortune in the race.

Stay in touch,

I have also approached the Dubai Autism Center as i wanted to support a local charity. I am now in the process of establishing fund raising events, so if you have any ideas give me a shout!

Big thank you must go out to Rebecca Prelle who has been amazing in helping me with setting things up for fundraisers and spreading the word! We have some exciting meetings lined up with media representatives here in Dubai.
Watch this space!

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