Permian Basin Autism Walk celebrates Autism Awareness Month

Permian Basin Autism Walk celebrates Autism Awareness Month
Families wear shirts to support their kids with autism. (Source: KWES)
Families wear shirts to support their kids with autism. (Source: KWES)
Kids take pictures with the Midland Fire Department. (Source: KWES)
Kids take pictures with the Midland Fire Department. (Source: KWES)
Kids ride horses at the event. (Source: KWES)
Kids ride horses at the event. (Source: KWES)

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - The city of Midland celebrated its 7th annual Permian Basin Autism Walk to spread awareness for children with autism.

April is Autism Awareness Month. The first annual autism walk in the Permian Basin had around 300 guests but now the number has gone up 4,000 people  who came to celebrate the awareness Saturday.

"They're not alone. They're with others that understand their situation," said Executive Director of SHARE.

Hundreds of people showed up at the event all for one cause. Families came to support not only their loved ones, but other families who experience what it is like to be a parent of an autistic child.

"I think it's pretty beneficial for everybody to come out here and show support and walk just for the cause," said guest Miles Sentena.

The fundraiser was to raise awareness for children with autism and special needs.

"Most every parent that comes to talk to me tell me they are very alone, they feel isolated, they feel nobody else could understand what they're going through," said Event Coordinator Malissa Roach.

Roach is the founder of the Permian Basin Autism Walk. She said her grandson is what helped her get the program started.

"When he was first diagnosed, we had a very difficult time finding local resources and finding who to go to and how to get help. Once we got connected, I wanted other families to get connected easily."

The event was open free to the public. Roach said this was to make sure no families were excluded.

"My son has autism," said first-time visitor Desmond Brooks. "We're here to show support to other families who have a child with special needs.

SHARE continues to help families in the community by offering free family programs. They said Saturday's fundraiser embodies what SHARE is all about. 

"This is a chance for people who don't know about services can meet others and find out," said Jones. "It's about family, strengthening families and supporting families."

The fundraiser raised close to $100,000. The proceeds go to families with special needs in the Permian Basin. If you'd like to help donate, click here. For more information on SHARE, you can visit their website.

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