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April 25, 2014

Autism Walk this Saturday

Coordinators hope to increase awareness

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —

Imagine for a moment that you’re unable to fully express yourself. You have things you’d like to tell your mother, father, or best friend, but you cannot. There are things you’d like to show or share with people, but you are unable to do so.

You’ve just imagined what it’s like to be affected by autism.

Fortunately for London and Laurel County residents, support in fighting this life-changing impairment can be found at the 2014 Action for Autism Walk on Saturday, April 26 beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the London Farmer's Market.

Those attending will walk around downtown London and back to the Farmer’s Market.

“We want to raise awareness and be a catalyst for action in the community,” said Allison Westerfield, who has helped organize the event. “We want to make people aware of the issue. No one knows statistics, which are definitely on the rise.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, since the year 2000, children affected with autism has risen from 1 in 150 to 1 in 68, which makes for more than double in prevalence per 1,000 children. This statistic is increased to 1 in 42 for males.

Statistics like these and more will be at the forefront throughout Saturday’s event. Informational booths as well as people who provide medical services relating to autism to the community will be in attendance.

Refreshments – hot dogs, hamburgers, snow cones and snacks – will also be available. Inflatables will also be set up for kids that attend and show support.

“The walk shows support for the kids who suffer day to day,” said Lisa Depew, another organizer who is personally affected by autism. “It also shows support for the families that are trying to be functional in the world around them.”

Depew is a mother of three, two of which are autistic. Her twins, 11-year-old boys named Gabriel and Michael, have lived with autism their entire lives. Depew claims the diagnosis is widespread enough in Laurel County to demand attention from residents.

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