Lyric Nolin and I have never shared a conversation, though emails from her mom, Jennifer Hartmann, and her uncle, Eric, leave me believing she is a charming 10-year-old.
I know Lyric has a cool first name and is taken with all things princess. She is bright, articulate and giving. She has a 10,000-watt smile, and when trouble arises -- her uncle, Eric, tells me -- Lyric can charm her way out of any situation.She has loads of friends and is as caring as they come.
Lyric also is autistic, which means today's sermonette is about awareness and an amazing event on the horizon.
But I digress.
This spring, Lyric drew a picture at school of two girls and, in the work, one of the girls is crying. She took her artwork home and shared the drawing with her mother, who asked Lyric to explain the drawing to her.
Lyric said that of the two girls in the drawing, she was the one shedding tears. She was upset because the other girl in the drawing was "making fun of me.''
The situation did not anger Jennifer Hartmann; it pushed her to drive autism awareness locally so that others would be able to understand. But to enhance programs for those with autism, money and awareness must be paramount on a local level.
"I decided to pull an event together that would be more than an event that was exclusive to those of us impacted by autism,'' she said. "I wanted to reach people that maybe aren't familiar with autism.''
So the Royal Ball 5K Run for Fun and the Royal Ball for All were born.
The Royal Ball for All is Friday from 5-8 p.m. at the Milan Community Center. It as a free event for kids, where all little princes and princesses are encouraged to dress for a royal ball. There will be face painting, photos with a famous princess or two and numerous games, prizes and raffles.
Saturday, at 7:30 a.m., the first Royal Ball 5K Run for Fun begins at the west side entrance to the Milan Hy-Vee and scampers through the streets of Milan. Cost is $30 for the 5K. A 1/4-mile fun run is slated for 8:30. Cost is $15.
Packet pick-up and late registration will be held from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Friday at the Milan Hy-Vee and during the Royal Ball for All. Proceeds from the two days will go to help the Quad City Autism Center (qcautismcenter.org).
"The inspiration for the Royal Ball Run and Royal Ball for All comes from the one in 88 children who are diagnosed with autism each year,'' Hartmann said in an email. "We'll be running to celebrate their achievements, their courage and their future.''
Columnist John Marx can be reached at (309) 757-8388 or email@example.com.