On Saturday, May 11, nearly 1,300 runners, walkers, students, families, volunteers, and sponsors came together for The New England Center for Children’s (NECC) Annual 5K Walk/Run for Autism at the Neary School in Southborough. Donors, sponsors, and participants raised $231,213 to support autism education and research.
Beasley Media’s WROR 105.7 street team played music, hosted games, and created an atmosphere of cheer at the start line.
The sophomore class of St. Mark’s School lined Parkerville Road to cheer on participants as they made their way to the finish line. St. Mark’s and NECC have established a cooperative relationship over the last several years, which includes student-led fundraising, Saturday school peer mentoring, and Special Olympics training assistance.
Franklin High School junior, Will Pacheco, brother of NECC student Sam, garnered extra media attention for the event. His fundraising efforts and participation in support of his brother were covered by sports reporters at the Boston Herald and MetroWest Daily News.
New this year was a participant “Fuel Station” which fed hungry runners and walkers with coffee, pastries, and snacks donated from Red Barn Coffee Roasters, Roche Bros. and Wegman’s Northborough. Attendees were also treated to a free cookout post-race.
The Center thanks sponsors and donors who helped make this event possible: Central Mass Allergy & Asthma Care, Fitts Insurance Agency, Gilbane Building Company, Greenwood Industries, The Hanford Family, New England Tree Masters, Fay School, Prime Automotive, Priority Fire and Security Inc., Walgreens, Kens Foods, Larger Life Chiropractic, Southboro Wellness, Team Anders, The Kim Family Foundation, Stonybrook Market, Theracopia Therapeutic Wellness Center, Yummy Mummy Brownies, Baldor Specialty Foods, Duva Distributors, Gentle Giant Moving Company, Red Barn Coffee Roasters, Roche Bros – Westborough, and Wegmans.
All proceeds from the event go to NECC’s Annual Fund, which supports autism education and research by providing financial support for adapted equipment and materials for students, promoting graduate training programs for teachers, and disseminating effective autism education research. By supporting these goals, we can have a true impact on families in both our local communities and abroad and increase understanding of autism.
Photos by Eric Greenberg (Coppatop Photos) and Mike Davis (Priority Fire & Security)