LifeSkills Run for Autism exercises awareness

Elizabeth Wilson, 9, sits with her softball team, The Kentucky Blitz, after completing the 1 mile walk at the Run for Autism event. Team mate Sydney Rich, 11, has a brother, Brodie, who is autistic. Rich was under the impression that her team was attending a game over the weekend but instead they surprised her by showing up at the Run for Autism event in support of her brother Brodie.

Kaely Holloway

While many spent their Saturday mornings relaxing, more than 300 runners, walkers and volunteers participated in the fifth annual LifeSkills Run for Autism, hosted by the Kelly Autism Program.

KAP sets out to aide those diagnosed with a form of autism, ranging in age from seven to adulthood, as well as their families. Their mission is to provide a supportive environment for those diagnosed with a form of autism to achieve their full potential.


The run, starting at the Bowling Green Ballpark and looping back around through parts of WKU’s campus and the greater downtown area, consisted of a four-mile run and a one-mile family walk.

Lacey Williamson, a graduate student from Princeton, had run the four-mile race twice before, making this her third time.

“There’s good atmosphere here and it’s a really good way to support the community,” she said.

She and her friend, Erika Thompson, a graduate student from Fort Wayne, Ind., were running it together. This was Thompson’s first experience with the event, and the girls decided to alternate between running and walking.

“It’s all for a good cause,” Thompson said.

There were also autism informational booths, KAP craft booths, children’s stations and a silent auction. Items in the silent auction ranged from Yankee Candles, to basketballs signed by the WKU basketball teams and coaches, spa packages, sporting event tickets and more. All proceeds collected went back to benefit the program.

Some members of the Omega Phi Alpha sorority volunteered at the event, helping to run the small booth that sold homemade crayons, magnets, small goodie baskets and some of the other crafts made by KAP.

Freshmen Kayla Carrico, of Hawesville, and Kennedy Pruitt, of Glasgow, were on the first shift, running the booth before racers took their marks.

“A few girls work for KAP, so we’re volunteering and some are running,” Pruitt said.

Volunteers also ran refreshment booths, providing hot coffee, water and various granola bars and fruits for the participants.

Overall, the Kelly Autism Program deemed the race a success. Marty Boman, program director, thanked all who came out to participate.

“It’s been a great day, and this has been well attended,” Boman said.

Boman said the program works with more than 140 participants.

“There’s never a dull moment here,” she said.

The race has been held annually since 2005, but has changed it’s name several times. For five years, it has been the LifeSkills Run for Autism. In its time, it has provided not only financial support, but awareness support as well, as it brings in many who want to race for the cause.

“It’s always great to have the community behind us and support the program,” Boman said.