A Great Reason To Do The 94.7

I know of nobody who is purely autistic, or purely neurotypical. Even God has some autistic moments, which is why the planets spin.”

Jerry Newport, Your Life is Not a Label

In 7 weeks this averagely fit human being will join thousands of cyclists to complete the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge. This year I’m not riding for a ‘best time’. In fact this year I may not even finish. This year I’m riding with a bunch of people, some of whom aren’t in the best shape to be doing this cycle event, to raise money for a school for Autistic children (The Key School) that’s having to close down at the end of November because of a lack of funds. When this cycle-group was put together by Shaun Murphy, it was to keep the doors open. Sadly in just a month it’s turned into helping the school close with dignity and ensure that a group of dedicated educators gets paid in December.

My interest in The Key School is via a 7 year old boy named Nicholas. He’s the son of Shaun and Leigh Murphy, and in the last few months Nicholas has had a profound impact on myself and my two daughters, Jordi and Carli. I can’t explain Nicholas to anyone. I’ve watched Jordi and Carli try, and they’re as lost for appropriate words as I am. I could sit and tell you of the moments we’ve spent with Nicholas, but to be honest they don’t sound very exceptional at all. I suppose the closest I can get is to ask you if you believe in magic? Yeah I know, magic? That’s what Nicholas has contributed to our lives, in small, but profound ways. When you spend time with Nicholas, he turns the ordinary into extra-ordinary, the invisible becomes visible, and a sheep grazing becomes an awesome adventure.

Nicholas isn’t a ‘Rain Man’. Dustin Hoffman has imprinted a very narrow and one-dimensional view of autism onto the minds of people who’ve never experienced someone with autism. Nicholas is simply Nicholas. A beautiful human being who has introduced us to a world we’ve long forgotten existed.

The other day I asked Carli what it was about Nicholas that she liked? She explained how she loved the way he does what he feels like doing. If he wants to play with something he plays with it. If he wants to roll in the grass he rolls. And when he doesn’t want to do something he doesn’t. As I listened to Carli I realised that through Nicholas she had recognised the social pressures that bare down on her constantly, to do the right thing, say the appropriate thing, and often be someone she didn’t want to be. What an amazing insight to get from a 7 year old. Go Nicholas : )

If you’d like to join the auSOMEtism squad and ride the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge for a good reason, then join us. Join us in helping The Key School close with dignity at the end of 2012.

It’s simple. Here’s how you go about it….

  • Enter the ride – www.cyclechallenge.co.za
  • Go to the auSOMEtism Facebook page
  • Enter your details on the ‘tab‘ for the Cycle Challenge
  • Pledge at least R500
  • Shaun will contact you to arrange payment of your pledge (the details are on the FB page)
  • Meet us on the morning of the Cycle Challenge. We’re leaving at 08:32
  • For those that are shooting for a better time, and want to ride with their batch, you can still pledge your money and know that you’re riding for a great reason.

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