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Advocates For Developmentally Disabled Rally In Annapolis

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Developmentally Disabled Rally
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Hundreds gather to show support for disability funding in downtown Annapolis.

Monique Griego has more on Developmental Disabilities Day and the need for services.

Hundreds of people make a call for action to help the developmentally disabled in downtown Annapolis.

“They’re not begging for welfare. They’re begging for a chance to have life,” said Crystal Holman.

Holman was part of the crowd that marched to Lawyers’ Mall. Her son suffers from severe autism and spent eight years on the waiting list for services.

“There’s no money. There’s no funding. There’s nothing we can do. We can’t help you,” Holman said these are the excuses she heard.

Demonstrators hope being vocal will bring attention to the desperate need for funding.

Brian Cox, of Maryland Developmental Disabilities, says recently there’s been some help. Governor Martin O’Malley dedicated money to the cause in his recent budget and from the alcohol tax.

“We’re here to say this is progress. Don’t cut the budget. There’s more work to be done,” Cox said.

Like many people, Holman was able to get off the waiting list thanks to the alcohol tax that provided $15 million in funding.

But there are many others still in need of services.

Right now 6,500 people are on the waiting list; 1,500 are considered to be in critical need.

Teresa Herbert’s son Jesse is one of them. He has Down syndrome and autism. She fears without help his future is uncertain.

“I want him to be happy, have a job, have a home, maybe get married,” Herbert said. “But these things are not going to happen without community support.”

The majority of the money from the alcohol tax went to providing services to people who were considered in desperate need of care.

The governor was recently able to restore $25 million in funding that was previously cut from the budget.

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