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Troops and civilians at Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq are looking for participants — and donors — for a charity run designed to raise funds for an autism awareness program.

The Al Asad Autism Awareness 5K run is scheduled for 8 a.m. Sunday on the base in Anbar province. The run is in support of AutismSpeaks, a stateside group that pushes funding for autism research; seeks to raise public awareness of the condition; and helps families with affected members.

A page on the group’s Web site allows people to make donations for the Al Asad run. The link is:

According to the group’s statistics, one in every 150 children will be diagnosed with some form of the disorder, and the frequency is rising.

Air Force Master Sgt. Fred Proctor is one of the main organizers of the Al Asad run. He also is the father of an autistic child.

“The reason why this is important to me is my son, Cole,” Proctor writes in a message on the Web site. “He will be 6 years old this April and he is medium functioning and considered ‘moderate’ on the autism spectrum. One day when he is able to understand I want him to know that wherever I am and no matter what I am doing that he is always on my mind.”


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