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Cold Spring Harbor Lab

Painting a colorful path of support for autism research

In this edition of LabDish we welcome Stephanie de Lesseps, summer intern in the Development office at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Stephanie spearheaded a successful Color Run at The Hotchkiss School to benefit autism research and awareness. There were 140 participants in the run, and together they raised nearly $10,000.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has always been a big part of my family’s life, and a fantastic organization that my family, along with the surrounding community, loves to support. When I was young I can remember attending lectures about genetics and biology and being fascinated—truly entranced—by the scale and importance of the work and research that scientists from our own community do at the Lab today.

You can imagine my excitement and eagerness to help support these researchers in any way possible. When I finished my sophomore year in high school at The Hotchkiss School, I interned in the Lab’s Development office. As a part of my work, I decided to spearhead a project that would raise money for the Lab’s autism research.

I knew I wanted to do an activity that would excite a lot of people and that would be fun but would also involve them in a cause that was far-reaching. I settled on the idea of a Color Run, a fun twist on a classic run in which participants would finish the run heavily painted with cornstarch-based colored powder.

From August until April, with the help of a faculty advisor, I met with school administrators, juggled tee shirt and paint orders, handled online registration through my school’s debit card office, worked with grounds crews to map out the course, urged people to donate online through a fundraising website called Razoo, repeatedly announced the run in auditoriums, and encouraged volunteers to help out on the day of the run.

On April 26th, the much-anticipated day of the run arrived. Volunteers from Hotchkiss class of 2016, our school’s Dean of Students, and my faculty advisor all helped out tremendously. There were 140 participants in the run and nearly $10,000 raised in funds for the Lab’s autism research. Runners completed a three-mile course and finished with bright blue paint—and smiles—on their faces.

I’m looking forward to the second annual Color Run at Hotchkiss, and hope to raise even more money the second time around and have more people become involved in this great cause!

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