From Lynnzee’s mom Kimberly:

“On May 30th 2011 I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She was the sweetest baby, she loved everyone and loved to snuggle. As she grew we started to notice some different things about her, the first being when she turned the age of one. We would toss her in the air and catch her she would scream bloody murder. She was utterly terrified of movement like that. She was a late walker and she did not talk. Knowing that every kid develops on their own time we were not worried. But more different things kept happening. She would refuse certain foods to the point of puking, she would scream anytime we washed her hair, she wasn’t looking us in the eye and she couldn’t talk. She would screech and scream a good portion of the day. We could not get her to go on a slide or swing, they scared her. Again, knowing every kid is different we didn’t worry too much at the time. Then came age three, all of these things were still happening and on top of it she still couldn’t talk. She would hardly eat. The screaming continued almost all day, especially if we were in a store or some place with many people and white noise. I went to our primary physician and I was told not to worry and that everything was okay. But my mothers’ intuition was telling me to keep looking for more answers. There had to be a reason she was having a hard time eating, wouldn’t make eye contact, would not go on swings and slides and couldn’t talk, along with other sensory issues.

I did my research and found one of the best doctors specializing in autism, Dr. Miguel Knochell. I came to him in tears with a list of all my concerns. He took his time to hear me out and then told me that he believed my daughter had autism. I cried a lot, not because she had autism, but because I didn’t know what that meant. At the time there wasn’t a lot of talk of autism and I had no idea what to do to help her. I talked to a neighbor whose boy has autism and she added me to a lot of support groups online. I learned a lot and found the right resources to help my child. When she was evaluated by the school her speech level wasn’t even at 1%; they had to round it up. They determined she was high functioning autistic. Like I said, I cried when I first found out she had autism. Why? There weren’t resources out there. I had no knowledge of what this would mean for my daughter, and I was so sad and scared for her quality of life. It pains me to remember all of my fears in the beginning, because I was wrong, so wrong.

I heard a quote when she first got diagnosed: “My daughter has autism, autism doesn’t have my daughter.” And it is so true.  She has the world at her fingertips. I know she can do and be anything she wants. She is beyond determined to make her life what she dreams it to be. She is now hitting all of her age milestones and talking at an age appropriate level. (Thank you Early Intervention!) She has big dreams for her future. She wants to be an artist and live in Texas, and bring us all with. 😉 She has a photographic memory. She can remember things from when she was just a baby. She is an amazing artist and can draw things that are so detailed. She loves doing henna coloring books and is so careful to color it in perfectly and full of color.  She loves being active. We call her our mountain goat because at the age of seven she could hike three miles and not be tired. She is her own advocate a lot of the time. She will tell people we are all different and do things our own way. She spreads sunshine wherever she goes. She is very smart; she can tell you why the sky is blue and which planet has the most rings or moons. She loves to learn, she soaks it all up like a sponge.

Of course, there are still things she struggles with: the white noise in the store and church, fireworks, having her hair washed, making eye contact and needing a steady schedule and routine. But we accept those because we love her and it’s who she is. I have been asked many, many times if I know what caused her autism or if I want to know. The answer is no. My girl is perfect the way she is. Autism is what makes her who she is. I love her and I wouldn’t ever change her. She is who she is and doesn’t need fixing.  What she needs is acceptance, awareness, understanding and unconditional love. She likes to tell us that our home and life is “Lynnzeeland” and we all live in it. And you know what? It’s a great place to be. I am honored to be the mother of such a beautiful, talented, sweet and smart little girl.

By the way, I run just about all your races and she has been to each and every one, cheering me on or running from the crowd to finish the race with me. This is her first 5K and she is so excited! She is calling it the race for her. We are so excited to be a part of it. Thank you for hosting such an amazing event. We can’t wait to be there.”