Welcome to my Organization for Autism Research (OAR) fundraising page! I was chosen by OAR to train for and run the Berlin Marathon in September 2017! This marathon will be my first International running event and although I am a USA citizen, my family roots are from Germany! Your donation will not only help me meet that goal but will assist families like mine with children on the autism spectrum! OAR has a 4 start rating on Charity Navigator and promises that $0.87 of every dollar raised goes towards research grants!
I am honored and blessed to be mom to my amazing kid Cody!! Being Cody's mom has opened my heart and mind to think outside the box, inside the box and every other way possible. I removed my blinders and opened myself up to his world, viewpoint and all his awesomeness. I stopped trying to relate my experiences growing up to what I thought his should be like. Cody has taught me new levels of patience, understanding and grace that I never knew existed.
Cody was in 1st grade when his grandpa was diagnosed with cancer and 2nd grade when he passed away. The last time he visited grandpa, I brought sidewalk chalk to keep him from getting restless. I had explained how cancer had affected his grandpa. Cody drew a hangman with a stick figure hanging, a house with a cross on top and stick figures off in the distance. Cody said it was a hospital that cured cancer and the stick figures in the distance were the cancer monsters going away. With one simple drawing he showed me he completely understood in very simple terms what his grandfather had faced.
When Cody was in 10 years old, the leader of the after school program mentioned Asperger’s Syndrome to me. I took her suggestion seriously and began to research it. I chatted with Cody’s counselor and we decided to go to Children’s National Medical Center for their Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation. This is a very comprehensive evaluation over 5 appointments. At the end of the process, I was handed a very thoroughly written report that encompassed his communication test results, neurological test results and the observed play results. The tests confirmed the Asperger’s diagnosis. Instead of falling apart in the face of this life-altering news, I resolved to use it to make Cody’s life better. I was able to get him on an individualized education plan at school. For the first time, school began to get a little less frustrating for him because we were able to keep him mainstreamed in most of his classes and pulled out or setup in a smaller classroom for the subjects he needed more guidance.
Cody taught himself to draw by tracing pictures. Each time he brought home a successful report card, I let him choose another book from a series he wanted that would help him learn how to draw without tracing the pictures. He always came up with very creative stories and was now able to express his creativity through drawing a picture all on his own. He loves the Anime world and was very happy to learn he would be able to take Japanese for his foreign language in high school. While taking Japanese, his love of drawing came in handy while learning the hiragana, kanji and katakana symbols.
Cody’s 8th grade class field trip was a visit to the Junior Achievements Finance Park and I eagerly volunteered. Cody told me about this friend, Juwan, he made who was in a wheelchair and couldn’t talk, but could make sounds and smile. I met this friend and his aid who took care of him shared with me some of the bonding moments the boys had. Cody sat down and held his friends hand while listening to the opening remarks before the class entered the finance park area. I saw his friends face completely light up and he was smiling and making some happy sounds. I had to take a moment to compose myself, it was the first time I had witnessed my son show kindness and compassion for a peer. I always cuddled with Cody, even into his elementary school years. I knew he loved me and showed it, but wasn’t sure if he was capable of that outside of family. Well I could now see for my own two eyes that he indeed was!!!! Remembering that moment, still brings tears to my eyes!
Now my amazing son is going to graduate high school!!! I couldn’t believe we were here. I couldn’t believe I had survived, and this amazing kid was turning into an amazing adult. I turned to OAR for guidance on easing the transition from high school to the real world. Each section of the Guide for Transition to Adulthood I read, I wrote down questions to ask Cody. He wasn’t enrolled in any schools to continue his education beyond high school. He didn’t have a job lined up yet. But we had services set up for him for assistance getting a job. People kept telling us that he needed to cut his hair. He had an amazing afro that was a conversation piece anywhere we went, but that wasn’t really appropriate for interviews and his new grown up life. People tend to judge the book because they don’t really know what is under the cover. So after a year of these kinds of experiences and Cody not really digesting why he didn’t have a job yet, I took him to get his hair trimmed. The barber did an amazing job and I am happy to say that now he is better prepared to be a new book cover to get a job.
I began running 5 years ago and learned this organization sponsors runners, triathletes and even tough mudders to raise awareness through fundraising. Just like being a mom to my son Cody, running has completely changed my life. I have been able to use running to free my mind when it gets too busy, reset my body when it gets too stressed and my son has even run a few 5k's with me. I am extremely happy to have this opportunity to give back to a charity that we have benefitted from as their resources continue to provide a pathway for Cody and me.
|Michele Key||08/23/2017||$25.00||Go for it.||Anonymous Friend||07/24/2017||$158.80||You got this LISA!!!||Summer Helms||07/22/2017||$100.00||I'm so proud of you Lisa and so honored to call you friend!||Jim Rice||07/22/2017||$50.00||Thanks for sharing your story. Nice seeing you at the various running events.||Kelly Adamowicz||07/21/2017||$50.00||Have a fantastic race and trip! :)||Lauren Ross||07/21/2017||$25.00||Swift legs to an amazing BAMR!||Olga Torres||07/19/2017||$100.00||You are such an inspiration! Have fun in Germany!!!||Samantha Kaplan||07/18/2017||$25.00||Jeanette Cantrell||07/18/2017||$50.00||You are amazing, Lisa!||Daiana Martinez||07/06/2017||$25.00||Anonymous Friend||07/03/2017||$30.00||Lisa, I am so glad to see you running for a great cause! Enjoy Berlin and have a great run!!! Srijana||Christine Schwarz||07/03/2017||$50.00||Aimee Comi||06/30/2017||$25.00||Wishing you all the best for a great race!!||Manasa Peri||06/06/2017||$100.00||Linda Thoma||05/12/2017||$25.00||Thank you for inspiring me and many others, have a great race!||Dave, Ken, Rod and Denise||05/12/2017||$100.00||From your Shalimar family!!!||Amy Hasselkus||05/11/2017||$50.00||Amazed by your energy and commitment! You go, girl!||Anonymous Friend||04/21/2017||$250.00||Collection of bday money and awesome people at work :-)||Dennis Huff||04/21/2017||$50.00||Run The Race to Win||KANIESIA EVENSON||04/20/2017||$150.00||Happy for Berlin and OAR~Happy Birthday, Lisa:)||Maureen Thaivalappil||04/20/2017||$26.20||Happy Birthday, Lisa! Can't wait to hear about your adventures in Berlin.||Jenny Manning||04/20/2017||$25.00||Happy Birthday Lisa, and good luck on your marathon. How exciting :-)||Michael Sammons||04/20/2017||$100.00||Happy Birthday, Babe Doll!!!||Amy Miller||04/20/2017||$20.00||Enjoy every moment of the marathon, so proud of you!||Claudia Kenney||04/19/2017||$10.00||Lorena Pham||04/19/2017||$50.00||Good luck and have fun!!!||Heather Thompson||04/19/2017||$50.00||Kelly Adamowicz||02/28/2017||$50.00||Good luck with your race! :-)||James & Stacy McAloon||02/20/2017||$150.00||Lisa, thank you for letting us be part of your team for a great cause!||Tobi Rowland||02/18/2017||$100.00||You are going to rock this race, Lisa! I'm so excited for you!||Monica G||02/15/2017||$25.00||Terry Drew||02/13/2017||$25.00||Stacy Rosenberg||02/10/2017||$25.00||Mary Louise Nicklas||02/09/2017||$50.00||Can't think of a better person to support while they run for an amazing cause!||Summer Helms||02/04/2017||$100.00||Thank you for running for this awesome cause!||Jessica Lin||01/18/2017||$50.00||You're a true inspiration Lisa. Best wishes for you and Cody!||Meri Sutherlin||01/18/2017||$25.00||Good luck with the race!||Samantha Howell||01/13/2017||$30.00||Tricia Rice||01/13/2017||$50.00||Always a BAMR and inspiration to your friends and family!||Erin Westcott||01/11/2017||$25.00||Happy Birthday Cody!! Wishing you many more happy and healthy birthdays ahead! You make your mom so proud!||Sonia Pesantes||01/11/2017||$50.00||You my friend are amazing and such an inspiration. Best wishes on your journey. I am honored to contribute in support of your cause.||Heather Wilckens||12/29/2016||$50.00||I am SO excited for you!!!!|