The New England Center for Children has been fortunate to receive four John Hancock Marathon Non-Profit Program bibs each year. Through an application and selection process, we choose runners who are committed to fundraising for NECC and training to run the Boston Marathon. Joseph Byron is one of this year’s four NECC Boston Marathon runners.  He is a firefighter in Milton who loves to travel, play basketball, and spend time with family and friends.

Q. Why did you choose to run the marathon and raise money for NECC?
A. I chose to run the marathon and raise money for NECC because I have two family members who are on the autism spectrum: My niece, Mackenzie and my godson, Finn. Both were accepted into NECC’s home-based program. 

Q. You’ve fund raised for NECC in the past. (Joseph has run the Falmouth Road Race in support of NECC). What makes you continue to support NECC?
A. I continue to support NECC because I can see the progress in Mackenzie and Finn, and it started with NECC’s early intervention. I believe NECC is the institution with the best chance to give anybody on the autism spectrum the opportunity to live without limits. They don’t believe in an autism cure but instead focus on how autism is diagnosed and helping people with autism now live as independently as they can.

Q.How has autism affected your family?  
Certainly having a family member living with autism can be hard. I have experienced the sadness and frustration with my own eyes, but a high majority of the time autism has only affected my family and me positively. We have grown closer, and the show of support for those kids is amazing. That inspires me to be a better person, not only with my family but to everyone. 

Q.Why is raising money for autism education and research important to you?
A. Although we have seen great strides in bettering the lives of people with autism, we still have work to do. Without funding we won’t have the resources to continue research that helps people with autism live their fullest life.

Q. Tell us about training for a marathon.
Training for the marathon has been a great experience. I am running for a purpose and that is what makes it worthwhile. Although some of the runs have been in frigid temperatures it still doesn’t deter me from my goal of crossing that finish line for my family and every family living with someone with autism. Not all my runs have been frigid either. I traveled throughout the month of January, where I was blessed to be able to run through the futuristic city of Dubai, the beautiful rural countryside of Cambodia, and the heavenly islands of Thailand, none of which were colder than 85 degrees. All the while I was thinking about Mackenzie, Finn, and every man, woman, and child living with autism with every step I took.

Donate Now!  Make a gift to Joseph’s fundraising page and support NECC here.