Hundreds Walk Through Bangor For Autism Awareness 

More than 400 people took part in the 8th annual Walk for Autism. Organizers were hoping to raise some much needed money as well as spread awareness about the disease.Cathy Dionne is a Director of Programs and Administration for the Autism Society of Maine and says this is the organizations most lucrative fundraiser. “Today is about hope,” she says, “we really want to give families hope and let them know that autism is very treatable and early detection and getting your diagnosis early is really the key to providing more hope so that’s what it’s about.”Participants in Farmington, Biddeford, and at the University College of Bangor took part in the walk. According to the Autism Society of Maine more and more kids in Maine are being diagnosed with the disease.Ryan Whitehouse is just one of many parents here at the walk for autism. Whitehouse’s son Jacob is autistic. “Autism is becoming an epidemic,” says Whitehouse, “it’s 1 in around 100 people and I think Maine is the third most prevalent state in the nation 1 in 80 have autism and we don’t know why and we don’t have a cure yet so it’s vitaly important that we get one.”James Bernadini is also from East Millinocket. His son Matthew will turn 7 in June and he too is autistic. The Bernadini family has been coming to the walk for autism since Matthew was diagnosed.”It’s great because it gives you a chance for the awareness you know,” says Bernadini, “the other family members get to see other families that are affected the same way we are it’s just kind of a community thing. Everybody kind of knows everybody, you see the same people year after year.”Folks here say that being able to mingle with people who understand what they’re going through is a tremendous comfort. “It’s a great way for families to share things you know. oh his worked for me, oh I tried this and it didn’t work but let me tell you what I found out,” says Dionne. Along with networking these types of events can also make the children here feel comfortable. “It’s good to just know that nobody is going to look at your kid funny,” says Whitehouse, “while your here everybody seems to understand and it fosters hope.”