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It's My Ability benefits camp for autistic kids, gives those on the spectrum a summer camp experience

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - The It's My Ability 5K has been raising funds fo Camp Odakoda for five years.Summer camp for kids is a right of passage. Camp Odakoda ensures that children on the autistic spectrum are allowed that experience, and the It's My Ability 5K keeps the doors of the Oregon camp open.

The fifth year of the race is coming up on Saturday, Sept. 2, at the Boring Station Trailhead Park.

"It's an hour and a half of your morning and such a great cause," said Tracy Brunkhorst, co-director for the race.

Along with celebrating the fifth anniversary of the race, the It's My Ability team will work to complete an even bigger challenge this year: raising $100,000.

ASD Oregon, which operates Camp Odakoda has partnered with Dr. Hardin of Harmony Orthodontics and the Doernbecher Foundation to create an endowment to ensure the future support of the camp. In order to meet its goal, the group must raise $500,000 over the next five years.

"I love Camp Odakoda and am committed to keep the program going for years to come," Director of ASD Oregon and Camp Odakoda Misti Moxley explained in a message on the camp's website.

Moxley started Camp Odakoda eight years ago for her son, and children like him. Now that her son is entering his senior year of high school, she doesn't have any plans of ending her quest to create a summer camp experience for all kids.

"I have been given an amazing opportunity to create a system that will make camp financially stable and sustainable for years to come," Moxley continued. "The way the endowment works is we will create a fund that Doernbecher Foundation will invest on our behalf. We will receive about a 4.5 percent return on that fund each year. The fund will be a permanent source of income for the camp and will not be able to be used for any other programs."

New to this year's event will be a virtual option for those traveling or otherwise engaged on Labor Day weekend.

Brunkhorst refers to it as the "5K Your Way." Registration fees are the same, but with the virtual option, you could clock your Saturday afternoon Target run or hike with the family and simply email in your time for consideration.

"We're really hoping that it takes off," Brunkhorst added.

Medals will be awarded in every age group for first, second and third place finishers, and overall winners, but the real winners will be the children the proceeds help send to camp.

"My 15-year-old son, Daniel, is coming up on his fourth year of attending this camp," Dr. Hardin noted in a letter endorsing the event. "He has been on family vacations to amazing locations, he has attended Boy Scout Camp and gone on High Adventure camps with older scouts, but he would trade them all for the one week a year he gets to spend at Camp Odakoda."

Hardin has sponsored the 5K since the beginning, and this year is offering a generous grand prize, which all who register for the event are eligible to win.

The prize is a full, comprehensive orthodontic treatment, valued at $7,000. The only stipulation is that you must be present to win.

For participating on Sept. 2, this year's racers will receive a bib, tech tee, finisher medal and mystery swag bag. Registration closes on Friday, Sept. 1, and the race kicks off at 9 a.m. Registratoin is $40 for adults and $25 for children. Participants interested in registering as a team of 10 can receive a $5 discount per member.

Registration is available online at smileinharmony.com/itsmyability/.

Contract Publishing

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