More than 100 children and family members ran around the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium bleachers Saturday to help siblings and parents of those with autism.
About 400 attendees and sponsors raised more than $10,000 at the 10th annual “Stomp the Swamp” event. The event fundraised for safety devices used to track kids with autism. Impact Autism, a non-profit organization under UF’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, helped organize the event, said Ziqi Wang, the vice president of Impact Autism.
“I’m doing this for my little brother, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was 4,” the 20-year-old UF junior said. “It’s certainly been one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had here.”
Scott Stricklin, the UF athletic director, spoke briefly about the awareness of autism, Wang said. He addressed how important it was for the community to come out together to support such causes.
Attendees participated in a Zumba warm-up and cooldown before and after they ran. At the end of the event, silent auction prizes were awarded, including a basketball signed by Mike White, UF’s basketball coach, and a signed Tim Tebow football jersey, which sold for $100.
Tina Vo, a UF psychology junior, took part in the run because of her interest in neuroscience and autism.
“I love to get to know the kids,” the 22-year-old said. “Some of them are so bright, and you can’t even tell, but it affects them.”