OSWEGO – The Oswego County Autism Task Force will hold its inaugural Out Run Autism 5K this Saturday, the first of its kind in the county to benefit autism awareness.

The race will kick off at 8:30 a.m. at the Press Box Restaurant on East First Street in Oswego with a "Breakfast of Autism Champions" to be held from 9 to 11 a.m. All proceeds will be donated to the event.

Formed in July of 2005 by three parents who had children newly diagnosed with autism, the Task Force was created to "pull families together," and along with education and medical professionals provide support in Oswego County, according to Task Force President Tammy Thompson.

"We're different than Syracuse or Rochester, where they have a lot more services," said Thompson. "Our mission is to support those folks who have someone along the autism spectrum in their lives." The Task Force sponsors a Family Fun Walk every April, but this run/walk 5K is a new addition to its array of support and service.

Four years ago, the Task Force began awarding scholarships to high school seniors on the autism spectrum, and so far has disbursed more than $1,000 in scholarships.

Race Director and Autism Task Force member Julie Chetney said the response to the new event has been exceptional, and the Task Force hopes to register more than 200 people.

"People have always commented over the years, ' you should do a run,' and we decided this was right year to start it," said Chetney. "In our community, historically, any caregivers, family members, service providers, teachers, anyone who is interacting with children with autism on a daily basis, have typically had to go outside Oswego County for events like this." "Really, the Autism Task Force has set their way around Oswego County in providing things for individuals who want to support kids with autism, learn more about how to improve their lives, help these children who are affected and their families, how they can fit into community and be part of the community," said Chetney.

Registration is open by going to www.auyertiming.com. Registration will close Thursday. Limited same day registration spots will be available.

Donations can be made on site and all are welcome to cheer on runners the morning of the race.

All proceeds will benefit the Oswego County Autism Task Force.

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