The grand marshal for the Lewes leg of this year’s Walk for Autism, Autism Delaware’s annual statewide community fundraiser, is 7-year-old Adrian Creed, of Milford. The son of Andrea and Patrick Creed, Adrian is a first-grader at Kent County Community School at Booker T Washington Elementary.
The Walk for Autism begins with the Lewes leg on April 6 in Cape Henlopen State Park and continues with the Wilmington leg on April 13 in Fox Point State Park. Organizers hope to attract a total of 3,000 walkers in both Lewes and Wilmington.
Autism has been on the rise nationally, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in 59 children in the U.S. under the age of eight is on the autism spectrum. Although it is a small state, Delaware has not been immune to this trend: In the state’s public school system in 1991, 152 students received an educational classification of autism, but for the 2018–19 school year, 2,357 students had this classification. While this number reflects an increase in the number of students, it does not capture the adults and children who are not currently being served by the school’s special-education system.
An enthusiastic boy with many interests, Adrian loves the ocean, spelling, numbers, animals, music, riding his bike, swimming, drawing, airplanes, socializing with schoolmates, and spending time with family—especially when they get to visit favorite places, such as Aruba, the aquarium, and Disney World. He also participates in the Special Olympics Young Athletes Program.
“Autism Delaware is an amazing organization that empowers people with autism and their families through education, advocacy, social growth and community,” says Andrea Creed. “This is our fourth year participating in the walk. We’re honored and proud to have Adrian as grand marshal.”
“Even though he is only 7, Adrian is more than up to the responsibilities involved in being grand marshal,” says Deanna Principe, Autism Delaware event manager. “In addition to making announcements at the event, he will cut the ribbon to kick off the Walk and will be leading Team Adrian, which is walking for its fourth consecutive year.”
“Team Adrian will join dozens of families that will be walking to help us reach our goal of $215,000,” adds Autism Delaware executive director Brian Hall. “These funds will help provide support to local families and individuals who are dealing with autism, including the adults in our award-winning adult vocational program, POW&R.”
In addition to the Walk, there will be a fun zone with hands-on crafts for children. Next door to the fun zone, the newest and latest in products and services for individuals and families affected by autism will be on display, and a well-maintained picnic area will invite walk participants to enjoy their box lunches from home or their purchases from food trucks open for business in the park.
“The annual Walk is more than a fundraiser,” says Hall. “It feels like a family reunion. Over the year, many things can happen but this one day each year, folks who are all touched by autism in one way or another coming together. Autism Delaware is happy to be able to facilitate this gathering and the opportunities for support that it provides.”
Registration for the Walk begins at 9:00 AM, and the Walk kicks off at 11:00. For more information and to register, families can visit www.autismdelaware.org.
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