Fresno State alum Ryan Stiner completed his 9-day, 200-mile solo charity run on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Railroad Park in Clovis to help raise awareness for Autism.
“I do the run so it just draws focus to Autism,” Stiner said. “Growing up watching the struggles my aunt Meagan had dealing with autism, I just look at that and I’m very appreciative; one for the support we have to give her and two, for having her as an aunt. I love her a lot, she’s just like a little kid trapped in a body and I just wanted to do something for her.”
Currently, one in every 68 children are identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is five times more common for boys to be identified with Autism. ASD is a developmental disability that causes significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.
“The more I learn about Autism, the more I realize, we’re all somewhere on the spectrum,” Stiner said. “I hope people just walk away from here and go, ‘you know what, we need to take a second look at it.’”
Stiner began his run on Nov. 4 in San Francisco before ending up in Clovis on Saturday. This was the third year in a row Stiner has done a 200-mile run to help raise awareness for Autism but this time he did it in nine days instead of 10, like the previous two years.
“I run 200 miles because it gets people to ask me why I run 200 miles,” Stiner said. “Everything has got to be big with me, I love doing crazy stuff for myself and I’ve always wanted to run from San Francisco to Fresno.”
For this year’s run, Stiner again reached out to the California Autism Center to partner to help raise awareness for Autism. In response, the staff for the center put on the “big finish line” event at Railroad Park to support Stiner and the cause.
“This is our second year being a part of this event and we couldn’t be happier,” said Nicki Cerniglia, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Center. “We’re hosting this big finish line event party because he needs to have a big finish, he deserves it.”
Through their partnership, the money Stiner raises from doing his run goes directly back to the California Autism Center to help them serve the Fresno community.
“This year, he’s running just for our center so he’s raising money for our center,” Cerniglia said. “We’re going to use those funds to assist us in opening other centers in Fresno since we have a long wait list at the moment for Fresno families and we’re trying as hard as we can to serve as many families in the community as possible.”
The entire community was welcomed to join the family-friendly celebration. They enjoyed food trucks, music, games, face-painting and more to help Stiner complete the last 2.5 miles of his journey.
“I loved it, everyone likes attention and things like that but at the same time it’s called Ryan’s Run, I never want it to become about me,” Stiner said. “I’m going to do this for the rest of my life so by year 20, I want everyone else running and all the attention on the kids.”