Aspiring Model With Autism May Be on the Cover of ‘Women’s Running’


Kiley Lyall just might make history as the first person with autism to grace the cover of “Women’s Running” magazine.

The 24-year-old runner and aspiring model has autism, mild cerebral palsy and epilepsy and lives with her family in Bourbonnais, Illinois. Recently, Lyall’s mother, Kathleen, entered her into a competition at “Women’s Running” magazine for women who’ve overcome obstacles. The winner’s photo will appear on the cover of the magazine.

She was chosen out of 3,000 people to be one of the 8 finalists.

unnamed-8

Lyall has been running since she won her first relay at Special Olympics when she was 8 years old. After running many 5k races with her mother, Lyall set her sights on the Chicago Half Marathon. She’s now completed that race twice, most recently on September 27.

unnamed-9

Lyall’s favorite thing about running is blending in with other runners and not standing out as having a special ability, her mother told The Mighty.

unnamed-7

When she’s not running, Lyall practices her second passion: modeling. Several years ago she was selected to be in some of the original photo shoots for Changing the Face of Beauty, a campaign advocating for greater inclusion of people with disabilities in advertisements.

unnamed

“It just totally changed everything for her,” Kathleen Lyall told The Mighty. “It changed her confidence, she started talking more and she even picked up the camera.”

unnamed-1

The mother-daughter pair now have a photography business together called CurlyGrace photography.

unnamed-4

unnamed-2

For Lyall, being on the cover of “Women’s Running” would be a dream come true.

“Being on the cover of ‘Women’s Running’ magazine would mean that I’m just a runner,” she told The Mighty in an email. “I may have a disability, but I am conquering what a lot of women are conquering no matter what they look like and no matter their abilities.”

unnamed-5
When asked if she has advice to offer other athletes with special needs, Lyall had this to say:

“Always go for it, no matter what your disability [is]. You may be slower or more awkward, but if you love doing it and it makes you happy… follow your dreams and goals! You will eventually succeed.”

unnamed-10

Go here to vote for Lyall for the Women’s Running cover, or to see the other women nominated.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

As the Mom of 2 Sons With an Extra Chromosome, I’m Asking You This

Meet Aiden. A free-spirited young man with a charming smile and an ornery streak a mile long. Aiden loves Legos, blocks and way too much TV. He loves to help in the kitchen — cleaning and baking are his favorite pastimes. He is kind to those who are hurt or sad. He is opinionated and [...]

Demi Lovato Has Perfect Response When Asked About Mental Health and Shootings

Demi Lovato has been a mental health reform rock star this week. The singer, known for both her chart-topping hits and speaking up about her experiences with mental illness, headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday to speak to legislators about pushing comprehensive mental health reform, representing Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health initiative. Her visit fell [...]

To My Child With Down Syndrome, From the Luckiest Mom in the World

This is a personal letter for my daughter. It is her birthday, and every year on her birthday I think about the journey we have been on. When she was born eight years ago, her diagnosis of Down syndrome felt like a tragedy. I was ignorant about what Down syndrome was, ignorant about what really [...]

The Best Moment From Our Make-A-Wish Trip Was One I Didn’t See Coming

Many people have asked me what the best part of our Make-A-Wish vacation was. I jokingly answer that it was when Belle complimented me on how I did my daughter Namine’s hair. Putting all jokes and kidding aside, I want to tell you of the memory I treasure most. It wasn’t at Sea World, Disney [...]