“Running is the only activity where the boys are not bound by their disability and are truly happy.”
– Robyn Schneider
Long Island, New York: When identical twins Alex and Jamie Schneider limber up for the 119th Boston Marathon, you’ll be hard pressed to tell them apart from any other runners. By all outward appearances they look the part of a couple of handsome, athletic twenty-something up and comers. Their broad gleaming smiles effectively mask the troubled waters within. Just shy of their second birthday, both Jamie and Alex were diagnosed with autism. When the boys turned five Robyn and Allan Schneider, the twin’s parents, had to accept their sons were severely autistic, non-verbal with extremely challenging behaviors. Running has become a way of life for the Schneiders; an unspoken language for Robyn and Allan to connect with their disabled sons.
On any other day Robyn and Allan, might have to explain to strangers their sons are autistic. But on Patriots' Day when the young men take there place at the starting line, Alex and Jamie are runners just like everyone else. The two have run in over 150 races since they began running nearly a decade ago. This will be their 4th Boston Marathon. Alex is the faster of the brothers. He’s a focused runner, always with his eye on the finish line. He hopes to beat his 2014 time of 3:26:58 when he runs with his trainer this year. Jamie on the other hand is more of a social runner who will gladly sacrifice time for high-fives and handshakes with other runners.
The Schneiders are hoping to avoid an ‘emotional crisis’ with Jamie this year but are all too aware that one very well arise. Jamie was severely traumatized by the Boston Marathon bombing. His mother Robyn says he was able to sense the horrible tragedy that took place on that fateful day and some how linked these bad feelings to running. It took several months before Jamie was comfortable lacing up his running shoes. But even today, years after the bombing, Jamie is still susceptible to emotional breakdowns at the sight of mass confusion and loud noises. Fortunately, his father Allan will be running at his side.
Jamie’s condition is beautifully portrayed in Robyn’s highly acclaimed new book, “Silent Running: Our Family's Journey to the Finish Line with Autism (book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zjUaByYtIY ) Silent Running is an inspirational story of perseverance, resilience, and the power of unremitting love. Robyn takes readers into her living room as her family overcomes the challenges of autism, Allan’s Multiple Sclerosis and even her own aggressive breast cancer. She shares how her family found running to be a panacea for much of what they faced and a way for them to bond. Silent Running was released by Triumph Books on April 1st in time Autism Awareness Month.
Alex and Jamie Schneider will never know the rich history surrounding the Boston Marathon nor will they ever understand the significance of their accomplishments. But they do know what the finish line holds in store for them and that is enough to give the twins and their parents immense joy. The Schneiders hope that Alex and Jamie’s achievements will provide the inspiration for others to celebrate their challenges – and to prove to them that their triumphs can be far greater than their disabilities!
Robyn Schneider is available for interviews. To schedule an interview or for more information please contact:
Omni Publicity & PR Group
JoeUllrich at OmniPublicity.com
Robyn Schneider’s websites:
Robyn Schneider on ABC Good Morning America:
Robyn Schneider on ABC World News with David Muir: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7V0wc4fUrtE