Posted by: Autism Speaks | October 28, 2009

Why I Walk: To Show My Boy How Proud I Am of Him

Love from mommy

Autism has been a common word in our lives for the last five years; my son, Liam, was diagnosed at 21 months old with PDD-NOS. Like many other families, ours has felt the hardships of this diagnosis. This was my first year walking with Autism Speaks, but it’s been in the back of my mind for a few years now. I’m so glad that I finally did it! 

The reasons I walk are many, but the primary reason is to show my boy how incredibly proud he makes me. I have not seen a harder working person than Liam. In his short seven years, he has worked harder than some will in a lifetime. I walk to show the world that I have pride in my child, and that despite the difficulties it presents, autism will not break us. I walk to give all those who know and love my son the opportunity to publicly show their support of him and our family – a chance for them to be touched by the amazing sense of love and camaraderie that a person feels when attending any autism related event. I walk to teach my daughter, Liam’s little sister, about compassion, support and understanding for those who are different, so that she can grow up not only understanding why her brother is different, but embracing him for it.  I walk to build the hope (in my heart, and in others affected by autism), to feel the support of all those walking along side of me, and to be a part of the change that walks like these will bring to families like mine, and to kids like Liam.

I walk for my boy …

By Susan Varney, mom to Liam – 7 yrs old/PDD-NOS
Phillipston, Mass.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks event was held last weekend in Houston, Texas. Walks will take place on Oct. 31 in Washington, D.C. and Nov. 1 in Tempe, Ariz.

Would you like to share with our community why you walk? Please send 300 words or fewer and a photo to us at


  1. Your column touched my heart . “I walk to show the world that I have pride in my child, and that despite the difficulties it presents, autism will not break us. ” … it surely will not break us.
    Wishing you and Liam the best!

  2. Wow! What a touching article! We are also fighting the fight with a son on the spectrum . He is 4 1/2 years old. All that you said ” I walk for my Boy” is how I felt when I recently Did the Walk For Autism for My Son! In my heart & my family we walk for the future , for the present & for knowing that we will make a change! I see my son’s smile everyday & it gives me Hope! Autism will not break us either, it has taught us to see things through our son’s eyes & that tomorrow always has a brighter future when you never give up!!

    Our best to Liam & your family, You are a spectacular mother & never forget that & your son may have done the work, but you got him there! Good luck Susan ..Never stop!!!

    Michele Ponce..

  3. Thank you for such a touching story. My granddaughter was dianosed this spring. My daughter had asked me to donate for the walk, which I did. After she told me about the walk I went to the website, read your story and of course I am walking with them in Tempe, AZ today. Thanks again to you and Liam for the inspiration.
    Mike Mattfolk

  4. Thank you for your story. I plan to walk too. My grandson will be 13 years of age in December. He was diagnosed as autistic when he was about three years of age. I love him dearly and my experiences with him are awesome. He is high functioning but communication seems impaired.

    Again thank you for your story.

  5. As proud as you are of Liam – I am equally as proud of you Sissy! You have dedicated your life to make Liam the happiest little boy ever – and to ensure that he continues to thrive. The support shown by the “Liam Fights Back” team during the Walk Now for Autism Speaks event is a true testimate to the love that we share for your family and our continued support and dedication that precious little boy.

  6. How wonderful Susan and Liam, you ae both inspirations to us!.

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