Team Member Spotlight: Linda Beck | Organization for Autism Research


Chicago OAR 6Linda Beck’s association with OAR began over a decade ago when she met Dr. Peter Gerhardt at the National Autism Conference at Penn State.  Dr. Gerhardt is the Founding Chairman of the Scientific Council for OAR, current Co-Chair of the Council, and a member of OAR’s Board of Directors.   Linda’s son had recently been diagnosed with autism and she made an effort to attend all of Dr. Gerhardt’s sessions.  She enjoyed his realistic outlook and was eager to hear all about recent autism research, including research involving OAR.

Linda knew that OAR offered runners the opportunity to skip the lottery and fundraise for the organization making it a no-brainer to join the RUN FOR AUTISM team.  Just last year, she ran the 2017 Chicago Marathon for OAR and raised over $2,600!  “I love OAR’s mission.  I could never fundraise for an organization halfheartedly.  If I’m fundraising, I have to be all in.  After all, if I can’t donate my own money as well as the literal blood, sweat and tears that come with marathon training, how can I ask anyone else to donate their hard earned money?  I love the materials and the support that OAR linda2offers.  While there are many organizations that support autism, I love that OAR is research-based and offers materials free of charge.  As a parent who’s had to spend a lot of money on autism support, I know how valuable good resources offered at no cost can be.” 

Linda is on the 2018 RUN FOR AUTISM New York City Marathon team and hopes to run the London Marathon for OAR in the future.  The RUN Staff is excited to cheer Linda on this November in New York City.  In her local running club Linda is known for her “tourist runs,” where she enjoys the sights and people along the way.  As you can tell from her race photos she likes to have fun on the course, which makes cheering for her that much more enjoyable!

LindaOutside of running and fundraising Linda has been seeking other ways to be involved with OAR.  She has begun collaborating with the Research and Programs Department to help with social media, creation of a speaker’s packet, as well as offering feedback on other OAR initiatives. 

Being part of the RUN FOR AUTISM team and supporting OAR has meant a great deal to Linda and her family.  “My son, who’s 17 now, is very aware of various autism organizations and has his own thoughts about which ones should be supported and which ones should not.  OAR is one that he’s totally supportive of.  In fact, he donated $50 to my run for Chicago and shared the experience of my run there.  My husband and son will also be on the sidelines when I run New York City and whatever other marathons I’m lucky enough to wear the OAR singlet for!”


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