Mainers take a walk in Bangor for Autism awareness

Published: Apr. 30, 2023 at 5:49 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - It’s a mile-long walk that makes an impact for many people, spreading many miles around Maine and beyond.

This year’s Walk for Autism in Bangor had quite the turnout on Sunday. =

With about 500 registered walkers, the weather was not going to stop feet from hitting the pavement.

“Well it’s a cold day, very cold, but that doesn’t stop us from walking for autism,” said Olivia Hassell, a walker in the event.

Hosted by the Autism Society of Maine, folks came for to walk in honor of different people.

Like, for the people they work with.

Brianna Murchison is a Mentor with Gallant Therapy Services, and is walked in the event.

“We’re pretty much just spreading awareness and also promoting self advocacy. It’s about like breaking the stigma of like, you know, people with disabilities are like weak or vulnerable where they can’t do certain things, but that’s actually not true at all. They can do many things that you know, people without different disabilities or autism like, you know, can’t do,” said Murchison.

For themselves and others like them.

Hassell added, “It is important to spread awareness because people with intellectual disabilities or different abilities cannot, you know, fit in and be normal. You know, they don’t they don’t have to be you know, nobody has to be rude to them. A lot of people with autism get made fun of and this is a chance to you know, get out and try to fit in. Being here makes me smile and it makes me feel like I fit in and that makes me know that I’m having a great time.”

Or for their friends and loved ones.

Whatever their reasons, they all came together to celebrate and spread awareness.

Another walker, William Wentworth said, “My cousin actually he has autism and Asperger’s. I’ve always been told when I was younger, because I have MR, don’t be a bully be a star. And people out here that are doing this for people who have autism, they’re being stars and I really appreciate it. I can’t thank enough people for coming out here today.”

“Autism I believe it’s not just a disability it’s a different ability and it’s what makes you unique,” said Hassell.