BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than a million people in America are living with autism. As part of WJZ‘s Continuing Community Commitment, we are sponsoring the ROAR for Autism event at Oregon Ridge this Sunday.

Mike Schuh takes a look at whom will benefit.

Xavier Perry is three years old, a happy kid and a bundle of energy. But it’s what you can’t see that brought his mom heartbreak.

“This has been going on now since he was about one. All of this,” said Danielle.

“All of this” led Danielle to the North Baltimore headquarters of the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Autism.

“Your life takes a turn when your child has — I won’t call it a disorder, but has a different way of going about things,” Danielle said.

The Autism Center evaluates about a thousand children like Xavier every year. And while they are who they are, the center gives parents and kids ways to adapt.

“We’re right on the cutting edge of what is known about autism, how to treat it and how to support development,” said Dr. Rebecca Landa.

That, as you might imagine, costs money. And though it’s part of an affluent larger institution, they have to raise their own money.

“We don’t access those funds. We have to generate our own, if you will,” said Landa.

Each year, they ask for help. This weekend’s event, ROAR for Autism, should raise $200,000 or so. The money will go into deep science research, research that could help Xavier or the 2,700 other kids seen at the center, with the ultimate goal of finding breakthroughs that could help all of humanity.

ROAR for Autism walk and bike rides begin at 6:30 a.m. Sunday at Oregon Ridge. The family events start at 9 a.m.


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