Autism awareness 5k makes inaugural appearance

Autism awareness 5k makes inaugural appearance

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Affecting one in 68 children, and costing families on average $6,000 a year, Autism presents challenges for people across the country.

"Otto you want to say something," asked Matthew Drake, our Miles for Autism Run 5k correspondent for the day. "How about you Jonathan," Drake asked, with our WTVM microphone in his hand.

Drake and his two pals Patrick Blair and Otto Wardlow call themselves the three musketeers; united by Autism, but held together by friendship.

"He's finding friends that he can relate to, and they can relate to him and they're getting closer and closer all the time," said Blair's mother.

"Any weekend you'll see me sitting at the computer," Patrick explained, but not this Saturday. This Saturday, the three musketeers had bigger plans.

"We want to take our special needs individuals in our families, out to the community, I guarantee the community will be blessed by getting to know them," said Michelle Drake, Matthew's mother.

The boys spent Saturday morning helping their parents and the Autism Adventure Travel of Columbus Group spread the word about the condition they live with every day.

Runners geared up at Woodruff Park for the first annual 5k held by the group, to do their part in clearing up misconceptions, and proving children and families living with Autism can do anything.

"They [people in the community] just assume that someone who's autistic is stupid or doesn't know, they're not stupid they're very smart actually," said Angie Wardlow, Otto's mother.

The Autism Adventure Travel Group offers travel services for special needs families, and hopes to continue growing the event in upcoming years.

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