EMU hosts Shenandoah Valley Autism Partnership’s 11th annual Run/Walk for Autism

The Shenandoah Valley Autism Partnership (SVAP) will hold its 11th annual 5K Run/Walk for Autism Saturday, April 21, at Eastern Mennonite University. The event is sponsored by community organizations around the Shenandoah Valley to help support the many families touched by the ever-growing epidemic of autism.

SVAP is composed of parents and local professionals who network together to discuss and share ideas about treating autism, a developmental disorder that often affects individuals’ communication, social skills and behavior. About 1 in 68 children have autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An autistic child’s developmental disability can range from mild, such as slight speech problems, to serious developmental disabilities, such as cerebral palsy.

Event organizer Jenny Hummel said the walk/run is used to spread awareness about autism and the resources available to help parents with autistic children. About $30,000 is raised from the event. The proceeds help educate the public about autism and provide scholarships of up to $500 for children and their families, which can be used in a variety of ways, including for speech therapy sessions and educational devices.

Both Hummel and her father, Jim Bishop, are EMU alumni. Bishop, former public information officer at EMU, will return for his emcee and DJ roles.

The chip-timed event has drawn more than 1,000 participants in the past.

Register online at www.valleyautism.org. Contact Jenny Hummel with questions at 540-246-8925.