Samuel is a dedicated, hard working, passionate 12 year old who has found a love for running. Up until recently, none of our three kids were interested in sports. Sam, our middle son, has always loved movies and has dreams of becoming a movie producer or director one day, so I never really thought of him as an athlete... until he discovered cross-country.
Samuel has autism, which makes participating in most sports activities extremely difficult as they mostly require direct contact and getting up-close and "personal" with others; the potential for getting hurt by someone else was too much for him.
With cross-country though, he can easily participate in the activity without worry of physical confrontations with others. He runs as part of a team, but his true challenge is himself. He is a whole different kind of brave and courageous when he runs, and he has found a wonderful team that is like a little family, the Lake Cumberland Runners (NOTE: donating at the team website does NOT go to Sam's personal fundraiser for the Junior Olympics. Please donate here at GoFundMe for Sam's trip.)
He has participated in the post-season meets on the road to the Junior Olympics. We are so incredibly proud of his accomplishment of qualifying at the USATF Kentucky Association Junior Olympic Championships in Lexington, KY on Saturday, November 11th. He now has the opportunity to compete in the Junior Olympics on December 9th in Tallahassee, FL!! But we need YOUR help to get him there!
We are raising money for travel, local transportation, lodging, and food accommodations for 2 people (myself and Sam) for four days from Thursday, December 7th - Sunday, December 10th, as well as new stability running shoes as his old shoes now have holes in them. We greatly appreciate any size gift you are able to give!
We have chosen GoFundMe as our primary fundraising tool as we only have two weeks before the deadline to sign up, and just three weeks before the JO, and Thanksgiving lands right in the middle of that time period. The deadline to sign up is December 2nd. He's already registered, but we need to start getting our travel arrangements in order ASAP. Please consider how you might be able to reach our goal as quickly as possible. Thank you so much for your help!! Watch our Hope in Autism Facebook page for updates, messages from Sam himself, and video snippets along the way!
A personal message from Sam:
Hello. My name is Samuel. I am a runner in Cross Country in Kentucky. When I was first running as an 11-year-old in 6th grade last year, I walked sometimes. They were my first runs, and I felt exhausted. I felt like I was really hurting after crossing the finish line of my very first meet. I was crying, and I was in pain. But now, I feel like I don’t have to cry. Cross Country is my favorite sport. I love Cross Country because running is a good exercise for me and it is enjoyable, including writing out all my statistics for running meets: meet names, dates, distances, boys place, overall place, and time. Running just feels so good to me. On Saturday, November 11, 2017, I ran the USATF Junior Olympics Qualifier. If you get in the top 15, you get to go to the Junior Olympics in Tallahassee, Florida on Saturday, December 9. And I got 15th! I am going to the Junior Olympics! My mom told me it was a 3000-meter (1.8mi/3K). I like running those. Seems fine for me. Oh, man, I love running. And that is my story of my running life.
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