Marcy, N.Y. - The Kelberman Center in Utica is putting on its 11th annual Walk for Autism throughout Central New York here in April, which is Autism Awareness Month. Four out of the five planned walks took place on Saturday. They were held in Marcy at SUNY POLY, as well as Hamilton College in Clinton, the Boonville V.F.W. in Boonville and at Oneida High School in Oneida.
Kelberman Center Executive Director Dr. Robert Myers kicked things off at the walk at SUNY POLY.
Dr. Myers says these walks raise an awful lot of money to help and awful lot of families here in Central New York, "The Kelberman Center supports people across six counties and every dollar goes right back here to create innovative services."
Dr. Myers says one of the most important programs at the Kelberman Center is its preschool program called The Promise Program, "There’s one thing we know about autism, it's that early intervention is critical. There’s tremendous research on the causality, and into effective services, but the one thing we really know is early intervention is the most important step for young people with autism."
Many families with young children with autism walked the campus at SUNY POLY on Saturday with their young loved ones to help the cause, because they've actually seen help from a variety of services here in Central New York, including at the Kelberman Center in Utica.
One of those families is Carrie and Mario Scalzo of Rome, whose 6 year old daughter Lizzy was diagnosed at just three years old.
Mario Scalzo says there were signs when Lizzy was three that she might have autism, "She was delayed in speech and talking. There were some social cues, some physical cues."
Carrie Scalzo says her daughter has been helped tremendously by the resources in the area and her support for Saturday's walk was incredible with some many LIZZY tee shirts, "This walk is really important to us. This year we’ve had more people than ever do the walk with us. We have about 44 people on Lizzy's team."
No word just yet how much money was raised on Saturday at each of the walks.
The one remaining walk is set for Saturday, April 28th at Glimmerglass State Park in Cooperstown. Registration begins at 9:00, the walk starts at 10:30 a.m..
Details, pledge forms, and links to team fundraising pages can be found at KelbermanCenter.org/walk-for-autism or by calling (315) 797-6241.