Daniel and Gina Kiely knew their son Danny was autistic long before the 8-year-old was diagnosed.
“He was different,” Gina said from the Paramus campus of Bergen Community College, the site of Sunday’s North Jersey Walk Now For Autism Speaks. “When he was 4, he knew all of the presidents, in order, and could identify their party affiliation.”
The Kielys participated in Sunday’s fundraising event “because we want to make a difference for his future.”
Gina Kiely said it took the 20 members of “Team Danny” three months to raise more than $6,000 for Sunday’s cause.
In total, the walk around the campus raised more than $500,000 — money that will go directly to autism research, education, advocacy, and family services, Autism Speaks President Mark Roithmayr said.
“This is an epidemic that people weren’t talking about seven years ago,” Roithmayr said, adding that over 5,000 people participated in Sunday’s walking event.
“Seven years ago, only one state offered health insurance to families affected by autism,” Roithmayr said. “Alaska will soon become the 31st, but we will not stop until every family has insurance.”
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