Runners raise $8,000 in 5th annual Superhero Sprint for children with autism

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Belvidere, Ill. (WTVO) — As runners hit the pavement, a local center for kids with special needs will benefit. We were there when runners took their marks.

“We’re just happy to be back. We’re raising funds for the Superhero Center for Autism and our programs for our kiddos,” said Superhero Center for Autism President Jamie Dornink.

The Superhero Center for Autism held their 5th annual Superhero Sprint 5K at Belvidere Park. Dornink started the center six years ago.

“My son Brodie has Autism, he’s 8 now. I just wanted to make sure there was a place to help families and other kiddos with special needs. So, I came up with the idea of the community center and we have an event like this just to raise funds for our center,” added Dornink.

This is Dustin and his son Blake Smith’s third time running in the race. Dustin says it’s events like these that made him want to work for the center.

“There’s no judgment. If a kid is having a hard time, the parents understand that because the people that are there are the people that live through it. So it really just brought together the community that, and made a community even for people in this area with Autism and Disabilities,” said Dustin Blake.

With the pandemic, Dornink was worried about the turnout but was thrilled when she saw all of the people who came out.

“Thankfully it’s Sunny. Two years ago when we did it, it was snowing. So, we got a bunch of people actually registered the day of too, so it’s been really nice.”

When we asked eight-year-old Blake what he thought about running in the race, without hesitation he said “it’s pretty cool.”

The center has raised nearly $8,000 from the race. To learn more about the center, click here.

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