Early on Saturday morning, June 23rd 2012, Courtney and her family approached the pre-registration table smiling and in high spirits. Finally the day had come to celebrate the fact that this particular 5K race was benefiting the Turning Pointe foundation, furthering Courtney’s education and supporting Turning Pointe’s and Right Fit’s mission in meeting the needs of children and families touched by autism.
After marking in their attendance and upon receiving their race bibs and t-shirts, I noticed Courtney had come to the race PREPARED. Snugly on her back she had her back pack, stuffed with the essentials: fruit, nuts, water, and her sketch pad. As we began to make our way to the starting point, I realized we were missing on more essential.. “Benny the Bull.” Everyone at Right Fit knows that as Courtney and I make our way for our weekly walks, one of two (ok, sometimes both) air- filled animals must be with us, Benny the Bull and/or Danny the Dino. So it was only appropriate that one of the two join us on this day. It was Benny’s lucky day!
Within minutes of Courtney’s arrival, every racer made their way to the start of the course. The whistle blew and Courtney and I began to walk. We walked 37 minutes straight until Courtney needed her first sensory break. We found comfort taking a break in the cool grass, overlooking a small pond. There, she snacked on some grapes, sprawled out on the grass, and calmly became in tune with her surroundings.
In 10 minutes time, Courtney was content enough to get moving. We then continued to walk for another 20 minutes before we needed our second and last sensory break. Again, we found a shady spot in the grass, below a tree, overlooking a small pond. To our surprise, within minutes, Courtney’s mother joined us. She naturally began to praise Courtney in her effort thus far. Without much prompting, Courtney got to her feet and continued to walk.
Courtney, her mother, myself, and Benny all finished the race in 1 hour and 10 minutes time. We crossed the finish line together as many cheered us on, all proud of Courtney’s efforts. I am so pleased to have seen her finish strong along with the support of many. Thankfully, with everyone’s support, she and others will continue to progress underneath the shelter of Turning Pointe’s Foundation. Together, Right Fit and Turning Pointe will allow Courtney to continue to grow into a strong, able-bodied, intelligent young lady with many more finish line’s awaiting.
Copyright © 2017 Suzanne M. Gray.