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BAR HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 68 Americans are impacted by autism. One group in Bar Harbor took to the streets to raise awareness about the disorder on Tuesday.
A sea of red passed through the streets of Bar Harbor, each step, attracting more eyes.
“We have people come off the street and just start walking with us,” said Anthony Zambrano, the executive Director of Downeast Horizons.
Nothing, he said, was going to get in the way of this year’s 9th walk for autism.
“It’s a little cold today but as a little kiddo says, it doesn’t matter because autism doesn’t stop because of the weather,” said Zambrano.
» RELATED: Autism Society of Maine
Autism was not enough to slow the Williams Family down.
“Oh, we are extremely happy, we wouldn’t have it any other way it’s amazing,” said Danielle Williams, mother of two boys with autism.
She said she was scared when her eldest was diagnosed because she did not know much about the disorder. Now she is an advocate thanks to a couple of pretty great teachers.
“They are wonderful little guys that teach me new things every day,” she said, pointing to her young sons.
» RELATED: Autism Speaks: Maine Resources
Although some days can be tougher than others, they have taught her how to be more patient and how to think outside the box. By walking to raise awareness, she hopes others will learn the same lesson.
“We’re just trying to make our way,” she said.
“Sure we might seem a little weird, but we might like the same things as you…sure we might talk about it all the time but we’re people too,” said 14-year-old Tyler Davis, who is living with autism.
Side by side, he said, people can overcome those stereotypes and remind others in similar positions, that they are not alone.
“It makes you realize how important life is and how you can make a difference in this world,” Zambrano said.
Event coordinators believe they’ve raised nearly $5,000 to go toward social groups that are key to minimizing the effects of autism in a person’s life.