On February 12, 2023 Lindsay Valenti will take on a marathon endeavor, running the Publix Florida Marathon. In addition to the hours of training and marathon prep, she is fundraising to support NEXT for AUTISM as part of her journey.
Lindsay is motivated to run the marathon to benefit NEXT for AUTISM, to support her son with autism as well as her inner purpose “for great things”. Below is what Lindsay shared about her inspiration and journey.
NEXT for AUTISM: What made you want to run a marathon?
LINDSAY: This year I turned 35 and I wanted to check one big 'bucket list' item off my goal list and I thought, why not run a marathon? One of my good friends [Erika] is running it with me; we thought this would be an awesome challenge to accomplish together. Another reason stems from the fact that I really wanted a challenge that would test my mental strength. I have always struggled with anxiety and in 2021 I reached one of the lowest points in my life and spent 5 days in the mental health unit of a local hospital. It was an eye opening experience that taught me to stay present in the moment, stop worrying about things you can't control and to always show up for myself and my children—no matter what. So this marathon is not only a celebration with a close friend as we turn 35 but it's also a reminder to myself and to anyone else out there who may struggle with anxiety that you may get knocked down but you will always get back up stronger. Something I tell myself often now: "Find your purpose and drown out the noise -- you were meant for great things."
NEXT for AUTISM: Why did you choose to fundraise for NEXT for AUTISM?
LINDSAY: When my son was diagnosed with autism at 2.5 years old, I couldn't help but think of potential opportunities and challenges that come along with the diagnosis. As parents, we are all striving to do what is best for our children and make sure they have all the tools and resources they need to be exactly who they are. For that reason, I sought out organizations who invested in the whole person, from K-12 to DSP and everything in between. When I saw the work with the NYC Autism Charter School, peer mentoring and DSP training and supports, I knew I found an organization that is committed to the future, not the past. With the 1 in 44 statistic, we cannot fund more research on "why" but instead fund innovative programs to help everyone achieve their goal of a happy and healthy life with key resources and supports along the way.
I’m supporting NEXT for AUTISM because it’s a wonderful organization impacting the lives of those on the spectrum to live their lives to the fullest—with a focus on innovative investments for a more inclusive future.
NEXT for AUTISM: Any words of wisdom for future runners?
LINDSAY: You can do hard things! Running a marathon is more mental than anything else. Put in the work during training and surrender to what is on race day. I plan to take it all in and smile as I run those 26.2 miles knowing that it has built my character over 20 weeks of training!
Thank you, Lindsay. We have no doubt you can accomplish this marathon goal!