April 2 is Global Autism Awareness Day. Nearly everyone in the United States has been touched in one way or another by the horrible spectrum of diseases known as Autism. According to government statistics, 1 in 68 of all children born in this country fall within the Autism spectrum. Because every person with the illness is different, there is no one treatment, cure, or even set of symptoms that is shared.
In the month of April, Richard Petty Motorsports Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series teams will adorn a decal for Autism Awareness to support Gray, son of No. 43 Crew Chief Trent Owens. Gray, who is now six years old, was diagnosed early and now goes through therapies to cope with the disease. His dad, Owens, knows the importance of bringing awareness to autism to help find prevention and a cure.
"It's a very important month personally with having a son with autism," Owens explained. "My son was diagnosed when he was a year and a half, and he's six years old now. There's not a cure for it. It's a disease that's hard to understand, and it's very difficult from the side of getting therapies and getting help."
Showing that RPM is truly a family-run operation, Owens is humbled by the support from his team and acknowledges everything the NASCAR Industry has done over the years to raise awareness.
"Through campaigns like Autism Awareness month, there is more awareness than there was ten years ago," he continued. "My hope is they find a way of prevention. I would love for them to find a cure - that would be awesome, but I think the more we make people aware just how present the autistic kids are in society now, the better. Just see all the things that not only this race team is doing but also the things NASCAR has done over the years with Autism Speaks. I won a race in the trucks in Rockingham last year running an Autism Speaks paint scheme. That was a real highlight to my career to this date. I enjoy speaking about my son's autism. We don't try to hide it. We enjoy trying to let the world know, so everybody can kind of get behind it and be supportive and try to find a cure."
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