Nick Nickerson, 71, is running 3,000 miles in two years to raise awareness for finding the cause of autism. Nickerson’s 28 year-old son, Adam, is autistic.

Nickerson began his “3,000 Miles for Autism” run across the equivalent distance of the continental United States on April 2, 2017, and has already reached the 450-mile mark. His family has experienced the stresses associated with raising a special needs child. Seemingly everyday tasks can become difficult, it can be complicated to find proper accommodations, and care for children with special needs takes work. Nickerson is passionate about finding the cause of autism and is looking to spread his message as widely as possible.

“We’ve got to defeat autism,” said Nickerson. “We have to find the cause. So what I’m doing is I’m running to raise money, and to raise peoples’ awareness.”

April 2, Nickerson’s starting date, is The United Nations World Autism Awareness Day. Countries all around the world participate to change attitudes towards those with autism and to recognize them as citizens. Prominent buildings, such as the White House, light up in blue to show their support.

Nickerson would like to call attention to Extraordinary Ventures, a non-profit organization in Chapel Hill that provides employment opportunities to those with special needs. Their philosophy is that all people are employable.

“They provide employment for autistic adults. My son works there,” said Nickerson. “What happens is that, after high school, the support system for autistic kids just drops away. There isn’t any. Extraordinary Ventures was started 10 years ago, and they provide employment. My son works there in the office solutions. It’s a real focus for him and something for him to do. It’s such a great organization.”

For more information about “3,000 Miles for Autism” and Nickerson’s run, visit and make a donation if possible. You can also follow Nickerson on Facebook by liking the page, “3,000 Miles for Autism.”