Community takes many forms. Sometimes, people are drawn together by proximity. Sometimes, we’re drawn together because we share common interests. And, sometimes, what binds us are unifying beliefs and values. During the recent Run/Walk for Autism 5K, the VIA community came together to support critical services for our students, adult clients, and their families.

Whether they ran, walked, or donated to honor a loved one, each of the 550 participants plays an important role in providing needed services and helping our community move from awareness to acceptance of those with autism. This year’s event raised over $64,000 that will be used to fund classroom materials, cooking classes, or professional development for VIA’s amazing staff members.

Highlights from the event include:

  • VARIETY: Whether you’re an avid runner, a parent pushing a baby stroller, a walker, or someone who prefers to cheer on others, there were multiple ways to join the fun.
  • VOLUNTEERS: In addition to participants, over 40 community members shared their time to make the day a success—hauling coolers in the predawn hours, staffing the registration table, pointing the way along the route, and providing motivating music throughout the morning.
  • GEOGRAPHY: Participants traveled to Charlottesville from across the state while 38 runners and walkers joined remotely from as far away as British Columbia.
  • YOUTH: Over 45 young runners took a lap around the track during the ever-popular kids’ race for ages 3-12.

Many participants formed running, walking, and fundraising teams, uniting coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends in support of our work. The CEC WBS Team was formed to honor Hilary Nagel, VIA’s family support services coordinator, for all that she does to help VIA families, and for the second year in a row, Team Bradley is the top fundraising team—winning a family four-pack of shoes from OluKai.

Speaking of winners, Peter Baxter won the grand prize drawing: an original painting by 23-year-old local artist, Charlottesville native, and former VIA client Camp Fortson. Team Bradley also took the top spot for fundraising securing over $6,000 for VIA’s programs and services.

Special thanks to this year’s VIP corporate sponsors: Virginia National Bank, OluKai, McGriff Insurance Services, Charlottesville Radio Group, Aetna, Montgomery Team at Nest Realty, Children’s Dentistry of Charlottesville, NCI, Woods Rogers Attorneys at Law. Additional thanks to our other sponsors: Ragged Mountain Running & Walking Shop, Tiger Fuel, UVA’s Star Autism Initiative, PEATC, Autism Sanctuary, and Charlottesville Region Autism Action Group.

Check out the race results. Congrats to all!