Every year, we are honored with a special Chair of the walk. This year, our Honorary Chairs are Julia - age 4, Sean - age 11, and Eric - age 17. We are so excited to share their journeys with you as we raise awareness for autism.
Julia began physical therapy at the age of six months. With an older brother with global developmental delays, Julia's parents monitored her development closely and launched an autism evaluation when she was two. After her diagnosis was confirmed, she started her journey with our agencies at the Golisano Autism Center in a Happiness House classroom. In September of 2020, she moved into a CP Rochester preschool program.
"When Sean started at Happiness House he was nonverbal and undiagnosed. Our once quiet and frustrated son has turned into a loving, sweet, silly TALKING boy! The education he has received is amazing, his skills are always surprising us. There was a time that Seany's father realized that after having four other children, Seany could possibly be the first not to say "I love you Daddy.” And I thought I would never hear him call me "Mommy." Happiness House gave us these words and so many more from the sweet voice of our child. Happiness House has provided such a wonderful, trusting, caring, safe environment for our son. In many ways, they have given us our son, a way to communicate with him and nurtured him to blossom into such an amazing little boy. We truly are forever grateful.”
Eric Years' first taste of racing came at just 10 days old. He would accompany his dad and brother to the track and be lulled to sleep by the sound of 600s going around and around. With racing so ingrained in his life, it's no wonder he followed his older brother, Trevor, onto the track. Rather than being limited by his diagnosis, Eric and Trevor use their beloved sport as a platform for awareness. Both of their cars are covered in puzzle piece decals and they host fundraisers at the track to benefit organizations that serve people with similar diagnoses.