NewsRegionBaltimore County


Fashion Rocks Autism fundraiser to benefit SafeMinds on September 28

Posted at 11:00 AM, Sep 26, 2018

Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park in White Marsh is the ideal spot for parents to bring their kids to burn off energy.

And like most 12 year olds, Brendan has a lot of energy to burn.

He quickly runs through one of the massive playgrounds, jumping, climbing and spinning. His mom Karen Cornell keeps an eye on him while he plays.

She says Brendan's life, much live navigating the playground, has had its ups and downs since he was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.

"He has come so far and he's made a lot of progress and its one of the most rewarding jobs," she said. "We've had to fight for a lot of things but he's gotten there."

Among the things she's had to fight for is his education, trying to make sure he receives the appropriate services and resources. It's what many families with kids who have autism must deal with each day.

And even though the CDC released new numbers saying 1 in every 59 kids is diagnosed with autism, Cornell believes people still don't understand the condition.

"A lot of time families get judged by other people because they don't get what autism is," she said.

That's part of the reason why Cornell and Brendan are participating in the SafeMinds' Fashion Rocks Autism fundraiser on Friday September 28, to help spread awareness about autism and its impact on families.

The money raised will go toward the non-profit's national advocacy efforts. Earlier this year, Congress passed legislation pushed for by SafeMinds and other autism groups called Kevin and Avonte's law. It provides training for law enforcement on how to better handle autistic people who wander.

"That's why we look to people to come out to Fashion Rocks Autism to help us and garner that support," said Lisa Wiederlight, the executive director of SafeMinds.

And as the number of people who have autism goes up, so does the cost, said Wiederlight.

"Its going to be very costly unless we address this increase and find out what's causing it and help these people who are sick and create new employment opportunities," she said. "Because they're very employable. It's just a matter of trying to figure out how to work them into society because everyone wants to be productive."

Fashion Rocks Autism is being held at the Valley Mansion in Hunt Valley from 7-10 p.m. For ticket information, click here