40 Miles for Autism

We’ve all heard of 20/20 vision, but Westminster resident Mike Shelah has a 40/40/40 vision.  On May 19, 2012, Mike will turn 40 years old.  He has set a goal to lose 40 pounds and to be able to run a 40 mile marathon by that date.  In doing so, he hopes to raise money for Pathfinders for Autism.

Mike has experienced autism first hand:  he has an autistic son.  Seeing the great need to help families with autistic children, Mike has created a unique way to raise money for Pathfinders for Autism.  According to the website he’s created, “On May 19th 2012, Mike Shelah is turning 40 years old. He plans to celebrate this milestone by doing something really positive.  Mike is embarking on an exercise and eating program to lose 40+ while training his body to endure a 40 mile run in an effort to raise $40,000.00 for Pathfinders for Autism.”

Mike’s inspiration came about six months ago when he learned about a grandmother who was running a marathon to raise money for a sick granddaughter.  He immediately seized on the idea and turned it into a way to make it work for autism.   To keep with his 40/40/40 theme, he set a goal of raising $40,000.

Pathfinders for Autism is a Maryland non-profit organization located in Hunt Valley.  B J Surhoff, a previous Oriole baseball player, who also has an autistic son is one of its founding members is.  One of the things Mike appreciates about Pathfinders is that they create events that parents with autistic children can attend as families.  He is hoping that with additional funds, more events can be created to benefit more families.

Pathfinders has partnered with Denny’s in Westminster for “Family Dinner Night” once a month – the next to be July 27th.  A section of the restaurant is reserved for families, and the waitstaff has been trained to interact with these families, specifically how to engage with a child who has autism, what to expect, and special dietary needs.  Proceeds from Denny’s Family Dinner Nights go toward Pathfinders.

On Monday, August 29th, County Cork Wine & Pub in Eldersburg will have Mike as their guest bartender.  $1.00 from every drink, and all of Mike’s tips, will go toward Pathfinders.  With experience as a bartender, and great people-engaging skills, Mike should be at his finest at this event.

Mike sees a need in Carroll County to strengthen relationships and raise awareness.  It’s important for families who have a newly diagnosed child to know where to go for good answers and support.  Pathfinders provides this and more, including a database of pediatricians.

Fila, located in Sparks, Maryland, has agreed to sponsor Mike.  They’ve donated running gear for him during his quest.  In fact, he’s already lost 17 pounds, and much of these clothes no longer fit him.

40 Miles for Autism is shaping up to do a lot of good for Mike, for families with autism, and for Pathfinders.  To learn more, or to make a donation, please visit:



40 miles for autism on facebook


Posted by on Jul 19 2011. Filed under Community News, Health and Wellness, People. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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