Two-year-old Dahli McGee completed the 5K Run The Spectrum event organised by the North East Autism Society with her dad, Jonny McGee.

Although Dahli hasn’t officially been diagnosed with autism yet, doctors have confirmed that she is on the autistic spectrum. She is under observation from a number of professionals and Dahli’s mum, Stacey Stevenson, and dad, Jonny, are hoping for a diagnosis by the end of the year. Stacey, 22, said: “From Dahli being as young as nine months old she showed very little eye contact.

“She wouldn’t copy anything I was trying to learn her such as waving bye and she was also very sensitive to noise, lights and smells which caused huge meltdowns in hectic environments.

“She didn’t interact with any children and would often choose to play on her own.”

Doctors initially suspected Dahli had a hearing problem. As a result, she had grommets fitted at the age of one and a half. However, this made no difference to Dahli’s behaviour and she was eventually referred to a specialist.

Stacey said: “So many anonymous donations have come through so we can’t even thank everyone who has donated.

“Our target was £100. We are overwhelmed to have received so much money and kind words from people who barely know us.”

Dahli’s sponsorship will be split between the North East Autism Society and the local Portage group run by Durham County Council in St Helen Auckland which supports Dahli.

Stacey said: “Doing the run was to help raise awareness of autism."

Dahli McGee completed the 5K Run The Spectrum

The unique family fun run saw hundreds of participants being doused from head to toe in vibrant colours as they passed through colour stations along the route through South Park in Darlington.

Stacey added: “It has been hard. Nobody likes the word autism, especially in young children. I had a gut feeling, I didn’t give up and it turns out I was right. Now we just do the best for Dahli and her needs.

“The beauty of the whole thing is that Dahli wasn’t unable to understand she was doing a charity run. To her it was a fun day out.

“I literally cried from the race starting to it finishing. It was so emotional watching her cross the finish line.

“Dahli enjoys the noise of people clapping and likes to see everyone’s hands moving so when people clapped at her she was chuffed to bits. There are no words to describe that.”