Lewisville resident Jeffrey Bryant plans to run in the 2021 Boston Marathon with his wife Sonia on Oct. 11 as a member of Former NFL Quarterback Doug Flutie’s Team supporting the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for autism.
Bryant has run 11 marathon's stride for stride with his wife who is an avid runner.
“My wife and I have been runners for roughly 10 years now, and it's been a lifelong goal to run the Boston Marathon,” Bryant said. “My wife has qualified seven times to run it, but she never chose to run it. She was waiting on me to qualify, and I finally did when I retired from the Navy in 2019.”
The marathon they qualified for was canceled due to the pandemic. This year, they were able to join the marathon through the Flutie Foundation. Bryant, a 26 year Navy veteran, discovered his son was diagnosed with autism at the age of five while he was stationed in Japan. Bryant said of all the applicants, they were among the select 20 to join the team.
“It felt amazing,” he said. “Just being able to run the oldest and most prestigious marathon in the world, being able to represent autism and raise awareness on that and luckily get enough contribution from folks to be able to financially help that charity, it means a lot to us.”
Bryant is currently raising $8,000 to help the Flutie Foundation continue to fund programs that help people and families affected by autism. Those who wish to contribute can find his fundraiser on Given Gain. He has currently reached 82% of his goal.
The Flutie Foundation provides direct financial support to families to relieve the financial burden of caring for a loved one with autism, and collaborative grant making to autism-serving organizations. The Flutie Foundation works towards creating opportunities for people with autism to lead lives where they are included, respected and engaged in their communities.
“It's on my wife's birthday,” Bryant said. “Our son, Zachary is going with us. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to be able to do it for autism is even better.”