Badwater - Mohamad (1) (1)

Hope So Bright Selects an Elite Runner to Participate in the 2016 Badwater®135 Race to Raise Global Awareness About Autism and Applied Behavioral Analysis (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)


For immediate release

For more information, contact:

Marilyn Eisenberg, MFA
Communications and Outreach Coordinator
Hope So Bright
(310) 374-2862

July 1, 2016
(Manhattan Beach, CA)

Linda Sanders, founder/CEO of Hope So Bright, a 501 (c) (3), public charity foundation is championing one of its many ambassadors, renowned athlete Mohamad Ahansal, to run in the STYR Labs Badwater ®135 race, July 18 – 20, in Death Valley, CA. This is one of the components of Hope So Bright’s 2016-17 Autism Awareness Campaign. Ahansal’s participation in this ultra marathon will raise worldwide recognition about the pandemic of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Why endurance sports? Endurance sports (such as marathons, swimming, wrestling, weightlifting, cycling, cross-country skiing and race walking) are undertaken by individual athletes (not teams). During the sport activity key muscles are exercised at submaximal intensity for prolonged periods of time. An ultra marathon, also called ultra distance, is any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometers or 26.219 miles. Ultra marathon running, in particular, beautifully represents that success is possible with dedication and perseverance.

Hope So Bright uses the analogy of a marathon runner’s experience to showcase the daily struggle of a learning impaired child. Bi-lingual, a world traveler, and an exemplary role model for her two children, Sanders has always enjoyed fitness and endurance sports, including marathon and ultra marathon running. She also has a family member who is autistic.

About Badwater®135
Covering 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA, the STYR Labs Badwater®135 is considered the most demanding and extreme one-stage running race offered anywhere on the planet. The start line is at Badwater, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280 feet (85m) below sea level. The location’s climate boasts some of the hottest temperatures in the world. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300 feet (2530m). The Badwater 135 course covers three mountain ranges with a total of 14,600 feet (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100 feet (1859m) of cumulative descent.

About Mohamad Ahansal
Mohamad Ahansal is a Moroccan Berber from the town of Zagora in the Sahara in the south of Morocco. He started running competitively in his teens but as a young boy he ran to and from school every day (7K each way) so, his conditioning started early. He and his elder brother Lahcen have won the Marathon des Sables 15 times between them. Ahansal recently won first place at the Iranian Silk Road Ultramarathon.

About Autism Spectrum Disorder
The Mayo Clinic defines autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as a serious neurodevelopment disorder that impairs a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others including restrictive repetitive behaviors, interests and activities. Some children show signs of ASD in early infancy while others develop normally for the first few months of life, but then suddenly become withdrawn, aggressive or lose language skills they’ve already acquired.

About Hope So Bright
Linda Sanders founded Hope So Bright, a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity foundation in 2012, to provide financial support to other community nonprofits who offer programs and services to disadvantaged, underserved and at-risk youth. The current goal of Hope So Bright, for the next several years, is to promote awareness, collaboration, education, resources and advocacy for neurodiverse children with autism and ADHD.

Hope So Bright’s 2016-17 Autism Awareness Campaign includes Sanders’ second documentary film, which will focus on the autism pandemic and includes footage of Ahansal from this year’s Badwater®135 race. The film will spotlight interviews with Sanders, educational and healthcare professionals as well as proponents of Applied Behavioral Analysis (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) in order to shed light on neurodiversity and the need for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy training for parents, caregivers, teachers, and others who live and work with autistic individuals.

In the USA, one in ten children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Hope So Bright, through its elite running team called “Irun4Ultra” and its 2016-17 Awareness Campaign, is publicizing the issue and promoting alternative ways to treat the symptoms of those diagnosed with autism, including Applied Behavioral Analysis (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), an effective non-pharmaceutical approach.

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