January 14, 2019

By Marna Meltzer-McMorris

Not all victories are loud and public. Crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon is as visible and as raucous a victory as I can think of. The city shuts down. Traffic stops. All eyes are on the finish line and every one of those 27,000 runners is recognized for completing that milestone they fought long and hard for with years of training. Memories of the long and gritty runs through rain and wind and heat and cold and injuries and exhaustion fall away. Photos are snapped and posted, videos are uploaded, and that unicorn medal does. not. come. off. It is a life changing victory. It is also nothing compared to what children and families with autism experience.

Every day, children and families with autism fight to achieve the biggest milestones with the smallest fanfare. Forming words, speaking sentences, communicating, connecting, interacting, engaging with the community, going to school, volunteering, learning job skills – things most people don’t even give a second thought to – mean the world to us. Nothing can replace the joy of watching your child grow and meet his or her goals. Nothing is brighter than that “I did it!” smile. Forget Boylston. That moment is what I’m living for.

For my son and thousands of others, NECC makes these moments, these victories, possible. As pioneers of using the principles of applied behavior analysis, their research, and the ACE® curriculum, NECC has changed the lives of children and families around the world. NECC is committed to training Board Certified Behavior Analysts and offering ABA education to all groups from parents to professionals. NECC’s community partnerships open more than physical doors; they make connections that will last a lifetime.

I’m running to celebrate the journey, the struggles, and the successes children and families with autism face every day. All the cheers and congratulations belong to them.

I’m running to show my son and everyone that nothing is impossible.

I’m running to raise funds to keep the victories coming because with vision, with research, with passion, and with commitment we can make anything happen. My son and his experiences at NECC have shown me that.

I have committed to raising $12,500 for NECC’s Annual Fund while I train for the Boston Marathon. You can help support my goal by making a gift at: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/new-england-center-for-children-boston-2019/marnameltzer-mcmorris

*Marna was a recipient of one of four Boston Marathon bibs given to The New England Center for Children through the John Hancock Non-Profit Marathon Program. The Non-Profit Program provides over 1000 Boston Marathon® bibs to select non-profit organizations throughout the community, which provides organizations with a significant fundraising opportunity. All funds raised by NECC’s four runners go to the NECC Annual Fund.