Running for a Cause: Louis’s Journey of Autism Awareness and Acceptance

Running for a Cause: Louis’s Journey of Autism Awareness and Acceptance

Louis, an avid runner since 2010, initially embraced the sport as a personal challenge. Over time, he found a deeper purpose in running as a part of the charity-focused team, Run For Autism Famagusta.

Inspired by the impactful work of a tireless mother to her son, who is on the autism spectrum, Louis and his team took action to promote awareness and gather funds for autism-related causes.

For Louis, running is both exercise and meditation, closely tied to his dedication to the cause of autism awareness and acceptance.

How long have you been running and when did you start?

I initially began running occasionally as a hobby around 2010. However, it wasn’t until 2019 that I started taking it more seriously, incorporating daily training sessions and participating in various running events.

What initially made you interested in running? What inspired you to participate in the Radisson Blu Larnaka International Marathon this year?

I’ve always had a passion for sports and competition, though until recently, I primarily focused on team-based sports at an amateur level. The desire to challenge myself on an individual level led me to run. My involvement with the Radisson Blu Larnaka International Marathon actually began in 2019 when our company sponsored the event. That was the catalyst for me to participate, marking my first ever race. It was an experience that inspired me to return this year.

Have you ever participated in any races or marathons for a charitable cause? What motivated you to combine running with supporting a cause?

Yes, I’m a part of a charity-focused running team called Run For Autism Famagusta. We were deeply inspired by the remarkable efforts of Ada Stamatatou, who goes by the handle @my_life_with_yiannis on social media, in raising awareness about autism in Greece. Motivated by her work, we decided to initiate something similar here in Cyprus. For the past two years, we have organized an annual event to both promote awareness and raise funds for autism-related causes.

Could you please tell us about the cause you are supporting through your fundraising efforts?

I am dedicated to promoting acceptance and increasing awareness for individuals with Autism. Through our fundraising efforts, we aim to provide financial support to two primary initiatives: Autism Support Famagusta and the Smile Project located in Sotira.

The latter is an Autism day center that offers specialized daycare services for young adults over the age of 21 in a supportive environment. Our goal is to make a meaningful impact in the lives of those affected by autism.

What does running mean to you personally? How has it influenced your life, both physically and mentally?

Running serves a dual purpose in life: it acts as both exercise and a form of meditation. It has profoundly impacted me both physically and mentally. There’s a quote by Christopher McDougall that resonates deeply with me: “If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.” That encapsulates how I feel about running. It’s a space where I find clarity and solutions to challenges, enriching my life in multiple ways.

How do you stay motivated to keep running and participating in marathons? Are there any specific goals you set for yourself?

My motivation for running is closely tied to my work with the Run for Autism cause. The appreciation and positive impact we see in the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families fuel my desire to keep going. Additionally, the substantial improvements I’ve noticed in my physical and mental well-being serve as a consistent motivator. As for specific goals, I don’t have any set targets at the moment. My primary focus is to stay healthy and enjoy every moment I spend running.