Written by Josh Crane, Marketing
CHAPEL HILL, NC – 72-year-old Fathom agent, Nick Nickerson, is running 3000 miles (the equivalent to running across the United States) with the goal of raising $3,000,000 for autism research.
Nickerson, a North Carolina Fathom Realty agent, and his wife have a 29-year-old autistic son. While they appreciate the great support available for the autistic community, Nickerson recognized a need for more funding in the area of autism research.
“There’s all these services available for kids who are already diagnosed with autism.” Nickerson says, “But I didn’t see a tremendous amount of effort being put into funding the research of finding a cause for autism … That was my goal. An awareness that we need to find out and spend money on research to find out the cause of autism.”
Nickerson has been running since he was 21, and was inspired to tie his hobby into fundraising by his friend and fellow runner, Levi Rizk, who had already completed a cross-country effort.
“My original goal was, ‘Oh I’ll run across country. I’ll run 3000 miles.’… unfortunately I realized that logistically doing it and the expense of running across country were astronomically more than I had anticipated.” Instead of running across country, Nickerson decided to break the 3000-mile trip into shorter training runs and races around his hometown of Chapel Hill, NC.
Nickerson crossed his 1500 mile mark this past Mother’s Day, and has no plan to stop. But, while his running remains consistent, this effort has not been without challenge. A couple months ago Nickerson experienced an episode of TGA (Transient Global Amnesia), a temporary loss of memory.
“For about 8 hours I couldn’t remember my kids birthday,” Nickerson recounts. “I couldn’t remember our dogs names … So I have really slowed down my miles because of that. I walk up hills instead of running. I used to do about 130 miles per month, and I’m down to about 75.”
Today, Nickerson is fighting to spread awareness and find fundraisers outside the circle of his friends and family. Regardless of these challenges, however, he remains vigilant and plans to finish the effort out to the end.
“It was going to be a two-year project, but there’s nothing that says it has to stop. I could still push it and emphasize it and get it going.”
Nickerson has no plan to end his effort after he crosses the finish line. “Would I give up on the 3000 Miles idea? Absolutely not. The name of this is 3000 Miles For Autism, but there’s nothing that says you can’t ride a motorcycle or bicycle or something like that for 3000 miles. All that is really open for conversation.”
You can learn more about Nickerson and his fight to bring more attention to autism research here.
You can also see Nickerson’s promotional video here:
Edited by Geoff Stertz