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Bike Ride Raises Money and Awareness for Autism 

Catherine Pegram

You’ve heard the numbers – one in every 150 children is living with Autism. For a family in Bangor, the statistics are even more stunning – all three of their boys are diagnosed with the neurological disorder.That’s why Monique and Eric Iken hope a fundraiser this weekend will make a difference for them and others like them.Monique says their their sons, 10-year-old Ryan, 8-year-old Colin and 6-year-old Joe, have a lot of sensory needs and can get overstimulated.”It’s hard especially early on when they were younger, going out in public because when they get overwhelmed, they’ll scream and throw a tantrum and people will look at you like what’s the matter with your kid? What’s the matter with you – why can’t you control your kid?”The Ikens have learned how to manage the boys’ disorder. But Eric says they couldn’t do it without the help of Penquis Autism Community Services.”It’s a fantastic organization. They did a lot for us in just getting us grounded in what autism was and what kind of services were out there.”A 55-mile motorcycle ride Saturday is collecting money to the support program, which the Ikens say stopped their family from turning into a train wreck. “There were violent outbursts with our kids. They just couldn’t cope with situations they were in. They weren’t learning because they were just so overwhelmed.”The Ikens also want the ride to raise awareness about autism and give other families the help and hope they need, too. “Five years ago when we were first getting our first son diagnosed with Autism, you didn’t hear much about it, even with Asperger’s which is what we were dealing it, it was even less common. And now people are much more aware of it and this just allows people to see that it’s out in the community and it gets people excited and it’s great, it really is.” The Ride for Autism Awareness leaves from the Bangor Waterfront Saturday morning. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. It’s 10-dollars per bike and 5-dollars for each additional passenger.That includes a cookout lunch at the U-C-B gym after the ride.