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'We can't cancel autism'

Amanda Parrish * Delaware
aparrish@doverpost.com
Dover Post
Dover Post

People can help families affected by autism by walking around the house or yard.

Instead of the usual fundraisers at Cape Henlopen State Park or Bellevue State Park, Autism Delaware is hosting a Virtual Walk for Autism.

The group, which supports people and families affected by autism, has held two in-person walks every April for National Autism Awareness month and to raise funds for their programs. The coronavirus restrictions changed that.

The virtual walk goes from April 1 until the end of the month. Teams or individuals can take videos or pictures of themselves walking, in their communities, around their neighborhoods or in their homes. The videos and pictures can be shared on social media and with Autism Delaware.

At the end of April, each independent video or picture will be part of the Virtual Walk for Autism.

David Woods, Autism Delaware development director, said they usually get about 4,000 people and raise about $215,000 between the two walks.

“The walk is like our family reunion,” he said. “We are sad we won’t be able to get together as a community to celebrate.”

Woods said they have meetings and activities throughout the year for those on the spectrum.

“This is a critical fundraising opportunity for us that could affect what we do the rest of the year.” he said. “I think [the walk] is a cool idea to turn lemons into lemonade, but it would be wishful thinking of me to get the same [amount of money].”

Woods expects fundraising to be down this due to the uncertainty of the economy and concerns with the coronavirus.

“We can cancel the walk, but we can’t cancel autism,” he said.

Teams and individuals can drop off fundraising envelopes at the New Castle County and Sussex County offices.

Online fundraising will continue through April at https://www.delautism.org/change-the-world/fundraising-events/walk-for-autism/

Autism Delaware offices

  • New Castle County: 924 Old Harmony Road, Suite 201, Newark; 302-224-6020
  • Sussex County: 17517 Nassau Commons Blvd., Unit 1, Lewes; 302-644-3410
  • Kent County, no office; call Sussex office, 302-644-3410
  • Website: delautism.org