A Walk to Remember
September 5, 2018
According to the Autism Society of America, Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex developmental disability affecting a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is treatable, and more than 3.5 million Americans live with the disorder. As with most medical conditions, it takes money to conduct research to further understand the condition and provide treatment options.
Recently, the 2018 Autism 5K and Family Fun Walk was held in Morgantown, W.Va. The event supports autism education, training, services and research. All services are provided at no cost for young children diagnosed with autism. As usual FirstEnergy employees stepped up – and out – to support this worthy cause.
Jeremy Crigler, planning engineer III, along with his wife, Stephanie, and son, Nathan, participated as Team Nathan, and Randy and Libby Durr, both managers, External Affairs participated as Team Luke. This event was near and dear to them all.
“Luke is our 7-year-old grandson,” said Libby. “Luke has been diagnosed with autism and although it creates challenges in some areas, he exhibits highly developed skills in other areas such as spelling, puzzles, problem-solving and mathematics. He has been very blessed with two wonderful parents who have made it their mission to ensure Luke lives his life to the fullest and that he develops in the areas of challenges while excelling in the areas of his strengths. We wore Luke’s picture on our shirts during the Autism Walk to exhibit our pride in all he has accomplished.”
“Nathan was diagnosed in January of this year with high-functioning autism, so we created Team Nathan to help raise money for autism research and awareness,” said Jeremy. “Nathan is a very happy 4-year-old who enjoys swimming, boat rides and watching his favorite Disney movies. Despite his diagnosis, autism is just a small part of the amazing joy he is to his family – and it also makes him his own unique and special person.”
Jeremy hopes that this article will help him meet new families with children on the spectrum. “It’s always nice to share with and learn from others affected by this different way of life,” he said.