600 runners support World Autism Awareness

Posted by: Abigail Wood


Hundreds met in the downtown Rail Yard Saturday morning to run a 5K for World Autism Awareness Day. It’s the first of its kind in Lincoln, and the Lincoln Autism Family Network says they were told not to expect more than 200 runners. Three times that number showed up.

"It’s overwhelming," said Vicki Depenbusch with Autism Family Network. "Not only just the runners but the community that came together to support us."

23-year-old Will Lepinski has autism. He was there with his team, who help him in the day-to-day with academics and life skills. They showed up in full force today to run the 5K alongside him.

"Will is an awesome individual," said friend Zach Balderson. "He get’s real excited about a lot of different stuff."

Will said his favorite part of the run was crossing the Haymarket Park bridge. 

It’s especially meaningful that 600 runners made an appearance today. That’s the number of autistic children LPS reports in their school system. There was a lot of community support. Subway sponsored the kids fun-run and the Rough Riders also showed up to donate $500 to the cause.

"We want to give that hope back," Depenbusch said. "There is hope out there, you’re not alone."

Through the month of April, Subway will be selling puzzle pieces at Lincoln locations. All proceeds will go to the Autism Family Network.