This weekend, hundreds of people will crowd around Westport Village in an effort to fight a disorder that is estimated to affect one in 110 children.
The sixth annual Outrunning Autism 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Walk will be held at Westport Village at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24. The event will benefit FEAT (Families for Effective Autism Treatment), which is a family support organization active in the local community.
“It’s the only organization of its kind in Louisville,” said Michelle Harper, vice chair of the board of directors for FEAT. “We have very few paid employees, so every dollar that is raised goes to fund the programs we support. This is one of our main fundraisers. We raise around $50,000 every year from the race.”
With the help of donations and funds raised through the 5K Run/Walk, FEAT assists families with ongoing support, education, resources and programs including the Dreams in Motion summer camp, sports teams and social events for autistic children and their families. FEAT also helps fund the Endeavor Program, a preschool for autistic children.
The organization is especially important today since autism is on the rise in the United States. An estimated 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide are affected by the disorder, with government statistics suggesting the prevalence of autism is increasing 10 to 17 percent annually.
The Voice-Tribune sponsored the race last year and has signed on as a sponsor again this year. Voice staff come out to cheer on participants, and a few run in the race as well.
“There are so many worthy causes in this community – and The Voice would help with all of them if we could,” said Lauren DePaso of The Voice-Tribune. “FEAT is definitely a cause we hold dear to us. Since becoming involved in last year’s Outrunning Autism, there was no question we would sign up for this year’s event as well. We love what FEAT does, not just for the families who are affected by Autism, but for bringing overall awareness to this community about treatments, support and resources. Any organization like FEAT depends on volunteers and sponsors, and we are proud to help support this growing organization.”
The 5K Run/Walk course will go through the Graymoor-Devondale neighborhood, while the 1 Mile Fun Walk winds through the shops in Westport Village.
For those who aren’t inclined to go jogging on a Saturday morning, the FEAT 5K will also include family-friendly activities, a moon bounce, face painting, balloons, music, food and drinks, and specials offered by Westport Village retailers.
“(Last year’s FEAT 5K) was the first 5K I had ever run so it was definitely memorable for me,” said Bridgette Borraga, advertising operations director at The Voice-Tribune. “The volunteers who helped out at the mile markers were the friendliest group of people, handing out water and motivating us race participants with their smiles and cheers. It was a spectacular event in which the community came together showing that there are still warm hearts and good people just trying to make a difference.”
Outrunning Autism 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Walk
8:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24
Westport Village, 1315 Herr Lane
$30. Race-day registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and closes 15 minutes before the start of the race.
Awards will be given to top finishers in each age group and top overall fundraisers.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Ashley spends half her time writing stories at The Voice-Tribune office and half her time out on the town conducting interviews, while occasionally dressing in wild outfits to fully immerse herself in the experience (aka Princess Leia at Comic Con). Ashley is a huge UofL fan and loves the Yankees and the Boston Celtics (she is fully aware of the irony). She hopes to one day outshine Erin Andrews on ESPN and enjoys running, Bardstown Road/Fourth Street, Breaking Bad and reality TV (she’s not ashamed to admit that).