Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Our CBC Radio Interview

Letters from Camp........Councillors

We’ve been getting some pretty cool mail since the Run hit the media. It’s been especially neat to hear from people who used to work at Camp Gencheff, a wonderful camp for physically and developmentally disabled kids & adults, set on the south shore of PEI. Alex first went to camp there when he was about 6. He attended camp there (usually a week to 10 days) every summer up until a couple of years ago, when his running cut into camp and his younger school peers started becoming his camp councillors. The Camp also offered (probably still does) “respite weekends” and Alex sometimes enjoyed that too.

I’ve heard from 3 people who used to work at Gencheff and knew Alex when he was young (two of them are in the photo above, Alex is in the front row with a white towel over his shoulder ). It seems not only was he "memorable” but influenced people even back then. They live in different, and 2 of them distant, places and found out about it different ways. We're glad they wrote.

Dear Ms. Bain,

I read about Alex's run accross PEI on an autism list serve I belong to in South Florida. I am a behavior analyst in West Palm Beach, Florida and I have been working with children and adolescents with autism for about ten years.

I was especially excited to read about Alex's impending trek across the Island because I grew up in Stanhope, PEI and Alex was actually the first person with autism I ever met. I met Alex when he was about 6 years old and I was fresh out of high school working at Camp Gencheff for the summers.

I was very happy to hear how well Alex has done and to see and hear what a great young man he has become. I will be making a donation to sponsor Alex on his run and I will be monitoring his progress come July.

Tell Alex I said hello, and good luck!

Toby Honsberger MSEd, BCBA


Hi Alex I just read about your run in the Guardian online! I used to work at Camp Gencheff when you were there (my name was Jodi MacEachern then) and I can t believe you re 18 now! My brother Jeff used to teach you at Gulf Shore, too. Congratulations on such a great idea you ll do great!! If you send me an address, I d love to contribute to this excellent cause. You re a great example, Alex! I m proud of you!

Jodi LeBlanc, BHE


Hi Alex,

I met you when you were about seven years old and you were attending Camp Gencheff. I was a volunteer there for a week one summer and I had never met anyone with autism. For some reason you made a huge impact on me. You were a beautiful little boy whom I wanted very badly to be able to communicate with you. We were out for a walk in the wind and it was very agitating to you and you were very upset. I loved being around you that week as I could see you were an extremely bright little guy who couldn't express that.

The winter after I met you I read about twenty different books on autism. I became as educated as I possibly could, I ended up getting a job as a counsellor at Camp Gencheff and worked there for four consecutive summers starting in 1996. So I was fortunate enough to see you all of those summers and watch you develop and communicate more with everyone. I also read all of Barry Neil Kaufmans books and was very interested in Raun, his son's story. I went to the Option Institute in 1997 to volunteer for six weeks. I don't know if you are familiar with "Bears" and the Option Institute, but it is a remarkable place.

I also decided to take the Human Services course at Holland College and worked in the field for several years. I did visit camp several times after finishing my work there and each time I saw you I was so pleased to see how you were growing up to be such a well rounded teenager.

Your story on running is very inspiring as well. You have obviously excelled at school and you appear to be quite an athlete. It sounds like you have a very supportive family as well.

I just wanted you to know that meeting you as a little boy all those years ago has made an impact on my life and inspired me to take paths I may not have chosen otherwise.

I wish you all the best in all your future races and will keep an eye on your web page to see all your future accomplishments.

Take care,
Carol O'Hanley

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Front Page lead in, Charlottetown Guardian

Guadian article sidebar

Sidebar from the Charlottetown Guardian article, in the print version but not the online version

Running for a reason - Charlottetown Guardian

Charlottetown Guardian

LIFESTYLES Lifestyles RSS Feed
Thursday, June 22, 2006

Alex Bain, 18, of Oyster Bed will run Prince Edward Island from tip-to-tip this July to raise awareness and acceptance of autism. He will be the first autistic person to do this. Here, he’s pictured with his mother Janet Norman-Bain, who will accompany him on the trip.(GUARDIAN PHOTO BY HEATHER TAWEEL)

Running for a reason

On July 2, Alex Bain will set out from North Cape on a tip-to-tip Island trek that he hopes will raise awareness of autism and fundraise $6,000.

By Caitlin McIntyre
The Guardian

Alex Bain doesn’t want to find a cure for his autism.

Rather, Bain, an 18-year-old Oyster Bed resident, says autism is not something to be ashamed of.

On July 2, he will leave North Cape in a bid to be the first autistic person to run the Island tip-to-tip.

But instead of running to find a cure for the disease, the focus of many autism runs, Bain wants to raise awareness of it, says his mother, Janet Norman-Bain. As well, he hopes to fundraise $6,000 or $20/km for the nearly 300-km trek from North Cape to East Point, to bring Dennis Debbaudt to Prince Edward Island this September for a series of seminars.

Debbaudt, a Florida-based professional investigator and father of a 22-year-old autistic son, educates law enforcement, medical and first respondent personnel on how to recognize and respond to autistic persons.

Bain’s mother will join him on the trip, following him on her bicycle. In a recent interview with The Guardian, she said the public must understand that autism doesn’t have to be a devastating, life-ruining burden.

“Autism is getting a lot of bad press these days. Autism is made out to be a horrible monster and a family-wrecking horror, but it isn’t,” said Norman-Bain, who was interviewed on behalf of her son.

This is the message she and her son hope to send as they raise autistic awareness. Autism is a neurological disease classified as a developmental disability.

Bain is running for a good cause, considering there are many misconceptions and preconceptions concerning the disease, said Paul Wright, a member of the P.E.I. Roadrunners Club. It’s important to educate the public and help them understand the challenges people with autism face, he said.

“He’s running for autism, not against it. I think it’s wonderful,” Wright said.

Bain, who was diagnosed with autism at age three, has spent nearly every day training for the run. An impressive athlete, he participates in a road race most weekends as a member of the Roadrunners. In 2004, he was named the Roadrunners’ Patterson Palmer Rookie of the Year.

And although he didn’t learn to speak until age six, he graduated from Bluefield high school last year with honours, receiving top prizes in math and English.

With his myriad of accomplishments, Bain has been an inspiration for many in his community, his mother said. Many of his successes in life can be attributed to his family and friends, who were never condescending towards him, she added.

She said her son’s accomplishments prove autism doesn’t have to be a hindrance.
She hopes his success story will help dissolve stereotypes people may have of autistic persons’ intellectual or physical capabilities.

“Especially for parents of newly diagnosed kids or people who have yet to have diagnosed kids, they need to know it’s not a family-wrecking plague,” Norman-Bain said. “All autistic kids will improve, and some will do phenomenally well.”

Thus far, her website,, promoting her son’s run has received visitors from China, Argentina Poland, Saudi Arabia, and India. Clearly, word is spreading in the autistic community, she said.

Gary Craswell, a longtime member of the Roadrunners Club, said Bain has a great support system, and that will help him meet the challenges of his tip-to-tip run.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Ice Cream for Autism - iRunman Day at Buzzie's


It started with a cold call from Alex’s former high school Teacher Assistants, to Bob Carmichael, owner of the new Buzzie’s Dairy Bar & Grill on the Trans Canada Highway in Cornwall PEI. It turned into a fabulous day at Buzzie’s Saturday, and a very sizeable cheque! Buzzie’s hosted us and donated 50% of all their ice cream sales to the Autistic Celebration Run! We received individual donations from a number of people there as well. Buzzie's, and their customers, becomes out first "Marathon Donor".

Although Alex’s TA’s know him well, Bob Carmichael had never met either of us. His generosity is quite overwhelming.

And then there’s his ice cream!... Hard ice cream, soft ice cream, flavour burst swirly ice cream, chocolate dipped (yum!)..... shakes, sundaes... Buzzie’s has it. After a wet week, Islanders were good and ready for a hot ice cream kinda day when it arrived Saturday, and they came by, from opening at 11am to closing at 9pm, in a steady stream, non stop! The food from the grill is good too, burgers to scallops, they have it covered (we can vouch for the fish & chips, the burgers and the chicken fingers).

Buzzie’s is right on the Trans Canada Highway in Cornwall (beside the Esso) but surrounded by lots of green space & trees and a half dozen picnic tables to relax at. We parked ourselves at a picnic table for the day and had a great time with room to play, eat, sit in the sun, lie in the shade.... Here are photos of our day.

We saw lots of people we know, lots we don’t, and saw lots of people with smiles (and ice cream) on their faces. Two signs in Cornwall alerted people to the fundraiser and the one with Alex’s name on it attracted his relatives - Roger grew up just down the road in York Point. Alex’s TA from grade 7 & 8 popped in and was greeted with a large, warm hug. We have a photo of the two of them as well as Alex, Bob Carmichael and Alex’s high school TA’s, Mrs. Craig & Mrs. Blackman. Mr. Meggs, Deputy Mayor of Cornwall, former teacher of Alex’s and fellow PEI Road Runner dropped in for a cone. A number of other Road Runners came by to support the cause.

Thank you everyone. Very special thanx to Mr. Bob Carmichael and his very friendly, enthusiastic staff at Buzzie’s. It was a great day and a huge boost to our fundraiser. Your support is so greatly appreciated and will go a very long way to keeping autistic Islanders safe in their communities and better educating and training Island professionals in communicating and interacting with the autistics they meet, especially in emergency situations.

And to Mrs. Craig & Mrs. Blackman, your constant support of Alex, in school, out of school and since school has made a huge difference in Alex’s life. I know you only have to remember the Alex you first met in grade 10 and talk with him now to know that. Autistics who get appropriate supports can be very successful, you & Alex are proof of that. Thank You.

The weather was sunny, windy and 26 degree. I saw Mr. Meggs, Mrs. Blackman and Mrs. Craig, runners, Bluefield students and grandmother. We listen music, ate ice cream, playing games and lot of people. The best part customers and ice cream. The shirts are really bright. I like them the shirts.

Today Mr. Carmichael give me a big check. Thank you.

I did radio interview for CBC.

We've done two press interviews, on with The Charlottetown Guardian and one (today) with CBC Radio 's Island Morning. They will be printed/aired sometime soon. I'll post URLs when they are.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Buzzie's Dairy Bar & Grill

On Saturday, June 17th Buzzie's Dairy Bar & Grill in Corwall, PEI is showing their support for The Autistic Celebration Run by donating 50% of their ice cream profits to the Run!

Please come out and show your Support, have an ice cream and say hello to Alex & I. Buzzie's is open 11am to 9pm and is located in Cornwall, 407 Trans Canada Highway, right beside the Esso. We plan to be there most, if not all, of the day.