This Saturday, the Plattsburgh State Autism Speaks group, along with the PSUC women’s soccer team, will host a 5K color run/walk to raise money for their organizations and spread awareness for the disorder.

Autism Speaks President Breanna Syslo explained how the nearest color run is in Burlington, Vermont.

“We can’t do the powder that they normally throw, so we’re doing liquid-down tempera paint with water gun types of objects,” Syslo said. “We’re going to have certain marks throughout the path where we think it’s not too close to one another, so members of our club as well as the soccer team will be squirting paint at the runners.”

Autism Speaks is a non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness, advocate and fundraise for the developmental disorder.

“All money we raise for any events on campus all goes to Autism Speaks nationally,” Syslo said.

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Autism Speaks has only been active on the PSUC campus for a year, and they just became nationally recognized this semester.

“Autism isn’t looked at the way it should be,” Syslo said. “A lot of people don’t know, so we’re here to educate.”

Syslo explained how, within the past 20 years, the number of children who have been diagnosed with autism has increased.

“One in 68 children are diagnosed with autism. It used to be one in 1,000.”

Vice President of Autism Speaks Eileen Ruane said autism is a spectrum disorder that presents itself in early childhood, which can affect cognitive, social and motor skills.

“It’s a developmental disorder, and it’s different for everybody,” she said. “My little brother is severely autistic, and if you met another child with severe autism, it’s still completely different.”

She also noted that all the money the group has raised thus far has gone directly to Autism Speaks to help families with autistic children.

It’s awesome to see who it’s helping and how far it gets some families, because it’s definitely hard having somebody with autism in your family. It’s costly not only financially but emotionally.”

Ruane said that after hearing about the women’s soccer team’s plan to host a similar event for the same day, the group decided to take the confusion and turn it into a positive experience for both groups.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” she said.

Cassidy Clavet, a member of the PSUC women’s team, said the group is happy to be able to both fundraise for gym equipment and share proceeds with Autism Speaks. She also said the run/walk will be a good team-bonding opportunity.

“Obviously no one really enjoys running, so people are going to stick together in the run and hopefully push each other to go a little bit faster,” Clavet said. “It’s going to be a fun morning to share with everyone.”

Altogether, the team will have about 20 females participating, including Clavet.

The event will be held in the field behind Memorial Hall. Registration begins at 10 a.m., with the events kicking off promptly at 11 a.m.

Admission costs $5 for students, $7 for faculty and $10 for the general public. People can register the day of the event, and it will follow the Saranac River Trail.

Email Patrick Willisch at patrick.willisch@cardinalpointsonline.com

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