My little (but tall) brother Oscar is autistic.
Last weekend, he surprised us all by completing the Wakefield 10k Road Race, his first ever race, in just over an hour.
He has never run before now. And as it’s Autism Awareness Week I thought I would make a film about his honest, inspiring, beautiful and sometimes difficult journey:
We have previously been featured together on BBC Radio 4’s Listening Project and he has come on leaps and bounds since then.
Full article I wrote for The Star: An autistic boy with learning difficulties has surprised his family by running his first road race. Oscar Scholes-Furness, from Sheffield, was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, aged three. He has often struggled with public places where there are lots of people and even the faintest noises can feel deafening to him. But his dad Lee Furness said that Oscar, now 25, being diagnosed with autism and learning difficulties was a blessing. "We thought he was different in how he processed things and he was really advanced in some areas but very behind in others. "Knowing what was different about him gave us something to look into as we didn't know anything about autism. "It also helped us to understand Osc and why he did certain things." As Oscar grew older his development was well below his age. And he struggled socially, so whilst his younger brother would be outside playing with friends, Oscar would be walking around in the garden on his own whilst flicking an object in his hand. Lee said: "Having a diagnosis meant we got to access care and support to help Oscar flourish." Oscar was taught at a specialist school, The Rowan School in Dore, Sheffield. Lee said: "Oscar loved to learn about bus routes. "Even today, Oscar's favourite day out is to go to a bus terminus." Although Oscar said he struggles in public with people staring at him because they think he "looks different." He said: "People look at me funny. "They think I'm odd. But I just feel normal." But for the first time, Oscar has welcomed people's stares as he ran his first road race. He said: "I thought my dad was joking when he asked if I fancied running Wakefield 10k. "So I thought why not?" Oscar, who had never run before, was nervous in the lead up to the run but determined to do it. And in just over an hour he had completed his first race. He said: "It felt so amazing to have people cheering me on. "I was brilliant. And I beat all my family who ran the race." Oscar is now hoping to join a running club as Lee thinks he has a "natural talent." To watch Oscar's heart-warming film, go to: https://youtu.be/2Zw7BvIAhtE And read his story at mamamei.co.uk
Full article I wrote for Wakefield Express:
More than 1700 runners ran the annual Wakefield Hospice 10k at the weekend. And a further 200 people ran the 1k Mini Run which also took place at Thornes Park. One of those completing the 10k race was 69-year-old Ian Tippin, from Kettlethorpe, who has run a total of 115 marathons. He said: “This is just a warm-up in my home city. "I’m running another marathon next week.” Another extraordinary runner running the race was Oscar Scholes-Furness who has autism with learning difficulties. His dad Lee Furness who also ran the 10k said: “It was so great to see my son Osc run for the first time in his life. "He was like a gazelle and beat us all. "I am so proud of him as it takes him a lot of energy to be out in public especially where there's crowds. "But he loved it. He's discovered a true talent in running that will give him great confidence. "And the support from people on the streets was amazing. “We’ve loved it so much and will be back next year.” It was the 21st annual road race and by far the largest Wakefield 10K to date, for Wakefield Hospice. The first male over the line was Matthew O’Connor a member of Wakefield District Harriers who completed the course in an impressive 32.52 minutes, closely followed by Joe Sagar from Spenborough Ac at 32.58 and Alec Gibson from East Hull Harriers at a time of 33.10. The women weren’t far behind, the first female over the line, Jenny Latham also from Wakefield District Harriers finished in 36.25 minutes, followed by Faye Lightowler from Pontefract AC at 37.54 and Fay Beckett again from Wakefield District Harriers with a time of 38.11. Prizes on the day were presented by the Mayoress of Wakefield. Event Organiser Holli Kellett said “It was an amazing morning at the park, and fab to see so many people on the start line, all racing for the same reason. "We are so lucky to have the support of local people all taking on a challenge for this vital local charity. "I am confident from the turn out that we will smash our £50,000 target which will fund the whole hospice one whole week.” If you took part please send Wakefield Hospice your sponsorship as soon as possible or you can donate by going to: www.wakefieldhospice.org Watch our film of the race and Oscar's story, by logging on to: WakefieldExpress.co.uk