Anxious. Nervous. Agitated. That's how I feel after taking the incredibly daft plunge that is signing up for the 2019 Rapha London to Manchester Ride in support of Ambitious about Autism - and to show my two autistic sons that I'm doing my bit!
I will be beginning between midnight and 0100 at Saracens rugby grounds on 31 August and will be riding into the light to complete 221 miles and finishing at the stunning Adlington Hall on the outskirts of Manchester, on a late summer’s afternoon on the 1 September. The ride snakes its way up the country and through the peaks - it’s a tough challenge which I am ambitious to complete, so wish me luck!
The somewhat terrifying feeling of venturing into completely unknown territory and doing something that you're just not sure you're actually up for is nothing compared to the anxiety that thousands of autistic children go through just trying to get through the school day in a mainstream setting. This is particularly true in the 'age of austerity', with eye watering sums of money being cut from Special Education Needs programs in councils across the country.
Ambitious about Autism supports all young people with autism regardless of their condition’s complexity. They do this through their amazing and innovative schools and colleges, ground-breaking campaigns and programmes, and hard-won policy work where they get through to the people at the top.
For anyone who wants to know a bit more about the way a person's life can be affected by their autism here are a few of Ambitious about Autism's findings:
- 70% of children with autism are bullied at school.
- 90% of people with autism depend on their families or care givers for their whole life.
- Children with special educational needs make up half of all children permanently excluded from school.
- 80% of children with autism find school so stressful that they experience anxiety about attending every day, and 58% of those children find that anxiety so debilitating that they miss school days as a result.
So dig deep! Help me support this amazing charity and push me (I might mean that literally) over this ridiculous distance to the finish line!
Want to go all in and join the ride? Visit https://www.rapha.cc/gb/en/stories/london-to-manchester for further info