Team WillPowerPublished 11:00pm Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Mother, aunts walk to raise awareness about autism
Imagine, if you can, hearing the words, “Your child has autism.”
“In a split second, life as you know it, has changed,” said Jamie Flowers Kelley, a Troy native. “For my family and for a different family every 20 minutes, tomorrow will never be the same after hearing those words.
“Autism has affected our family very directly with Will’s Asperger’s diagnosis. We have friends who also have children on the autism spectrum. Three years ago, I knew very little about autism. Now, it plays a major role in my life every day.”
Kelley is participating in the “National Walk Now for Autism Speaks” in Washington, D.C. Nov. 3 to help find the missing pieces of autism, a disorder that has no known cause or cure.
Her sisters, Stacy Flowers and Christy Flowers Stanley, are joining her as “Team WillPower” for the walk in honor of Will Kelley, 7.
“The course will take us right in front of our nation’s capitol,” Kelley said. “I’m so excited to be a part of this event.”
The goal of Team Willpower is to raise $1,000 and to walk in support of autism research and awareness.
“The walk is a 2.5 mile course around our national monuments and our nation’s capitol,” Kelley said. “We will walk in support of Will and all of the other children on the autism spectrum and their families. More than one million Americans are living with autism today.”
Kelley said that “Walk Now for Autism Speaks” is a chance to make a difference in the fight against autism by raising money for autism research and heightening public awareness.
“Autism is the second most common developmental disorder in the United States,” she said. “It affects one in every 88 children born today. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined. Research is crucial.”
Kelley said that, despite some promising discoveries, the cause of autism remains unknown and a cure does not exist.
“Our goal is to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders – and to do it soon,” she said.
Those who participate in the Autism Speaks event will help change the future for all who struggle with autism. Each step taken is one step closer to finding what causes autism, how to prevent and treat it and ultimately a cure so no family ever hears the words, “Your child has autism” again, Kelley said.
“Until then, we walk to find answers and raise awareness about the devastating toll that autism has had on families like ours. I want Will’s tomorrows to be about school lunches and football games, rather than therapy, doctor appointments and despair. Together, we can find the missing pieces.”
Those who would like to join Team WillPower may do so by making donations to Autism Speaks, c/o Jamie Kelley, 103 N. Hunter Lane, Troy, AL 36079 or online at http://www.walknowforautismspeaks.org/dc/flowers.
Kelley is a 1994 graduate of Charles Henderson High School and a 1999 graduate of Troy University. She teaches kindergarten at Pleasant Home School in Andalusia, where she lives with her husband, Ken Kelly, and their daughter, Kristen, and son, Will. She is the daughter of James and Rhonda Flowers of Troy.