By Priyanka Ketkar/Special to The News
A seven-year-old Maple Ridge boy is once again raising funds for a cause, and this time has been selected as a face to represent Autism BC’s charity challenge campaign.
Parker Kaumi first ran the Scotia half marathon Kids Run virtually last year for the first time. Parker formed a team as part of the Scotiabank Charity challenge, and his team chose to run for Autism BC, said mother, Lauren.
The run was a success, as the team raised $2,500 in donations for Autism BC.
Autism BC reached out this year to ask if they could use Parker’s photo for their charity challenge campaign.
“We were thrilled! The whole experience last year was so wonderful and it touched a lot of people, including the folks at Autism BC, so we were honoured that they wanted to share Parker’s face with their audience,” she said.
Parker, who was diagnosed with autism three years ago, will also be running for Autism BC virtually on June 12.
Those interested in sponsoring Parker in his run for Autism BC, can visit the following link to access his fundraising page.
“Our family is very proud of Parker. The most important thing for us is that Parker has fun accomplishing any goals that he has for himself. Organizations such as Autism BC are incredibly valuable to families like ours. They provide so much to the Autism community and we try to find any way we can to give back to them,” Mom said.
For this year’s run, the family is encouraging whoever has the means, to sponsor Parker as he trains and runs for Autism BC.
“We have such a great community around us that is always so supportive in our fundraising ventures,” added Lauren, who in the last two years has baked cookies with Parker, and sold them to raise funds for Canucks Autism Network (CAN).
So far this year, the family has raised $1,700 for CAN. Last year, they raised $1,200, all through cookie sales, and they plan to hold another cookie fundraiser in 2022.
“We fundraise for Autism BC and similar non-profit organizations because we know first hand how crucial they are,” Lauren said.
“In a world that is truly lacking accommodations, knowledge, and support for autistic individuals, we rely heavily on the resources and sense of community and inclusion that organizations such as Autism BC can and does provide,” Mom elaborated.
“Without donations and fundraising, these wonderful places would not exist, and so we always encourage anyone that if you are able to, please consider donating. There are so many families that depend on these services to navigate through their Autism journey. It really does take a village, and Autism BC is an important part of our village.”
Autism BC’s challenge (virtual runs) will extend from May 26 to June 26, between which time anyone can participate on any day. Paker will be doing his run June 12.
People can also opt to participate in person on June 26, during the Vancouver half marathon and 5K race. To participate, people can visit the Vancouver Half Marathon website.
“We are just truly grateful for the way so many people have supported Parker and our family in different ways,” said Lauren.
“Whether they have purchased from our cookie fundraisers, sponsored Parker in his races, or showed up to cheer him on at the finish line, we appreciate every single one of them more than we could ever express.”
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