Alyssa Padilla found out about OAR through her dad, Dan Padilla, a long time RUN FOR AUTISM alum. After watching and cheering him on in multiple Chicago Marathons, it was her turn to join in on the “fun” of running a marathon. Her younger brother, Josh, is on the spectrum, and she knew there was no other charity she would run for besides OAR.
This October, Padilla will put on her teal singlet and participate in her 5th Chicago Marathon as part of the RUN FOR AUTISM team. Josh and OAR are her driving force behind every training run and every mile of the race.
“Seeing everything OAR stood for and how they allocate the money raised for autism is exactly what drew my family into being a part of this amazing organization,” Padilla said. “If it wasn’t for Josh, I may have never ran a marathon in my life. He is truly amazing and makes it well worth the training and struggles to get to the finish line. He is a big part of my life and being able to be his voice is the very least I can do in order to help take part in spreading awareness.”
Beyond the RUN team, Padilla is a big advocate for OAR. As a Special Education teacher, she tries to convince co-workers to be a part of the RUN FOR ATUISM team and utilize OAR’s many resources.
“If it wasn’t for Josh, I may have never ran a marathon in my life…
He is a big part of my life and being able to be his voice
is the very least I can do…”
“I try to get the word out there about autism and what OAR means for that and all the amazing things [they] do,” Padilla said.
Being part of the RUN FOR AUTISM team has meant a great deal to Padilla, her family and friends.
“We all share the same passion for getting the community more aware and understanding of what autism is,” Padilla said. “When my dad first joined OAR, I would have never thought it would end in me running a marathon, let alone going on 5. OAR gives our family hope and brings us together come marathon ’season.’ We have dragged many family members as well as friends to also be a part of the RUN FOR AUTISM team and we shared MANY great memories throughout the years.”
Over the years, Padilla and her dad have created the Jogging4Josh team, a group that runs the Chicago Marathon every year for OAR. Last year, the group raised over $26,700. This year, Padilla’s dad is taking a break from the Chicago Marathon, but her mom, Kim, has decided to take his place on the RUN FOR AUTISM team for her first marathon ever.
We can’t wait to cheer on Alyssa, Kim, the Jogging4Josh team, and the rest of the 2018 Chicago Marathon RUN FOR AUTISM team!
Join Padilla and dedicate your miles to autism research.
Join the RUN FOR AUTISM team.