Downeast Horizons holds annual Autism Awareness Walk-A-Thon in Ellsworth

Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 5:24 PM EDT
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ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) - Downeast area children and adults with autism gathered with their family, friends and caregivers for Downeast Horizons’ annual Autism Awareness Walk-A-Thon in Ellsworth this morning.

The Autism Walk-A-Thon is one of the first signs of spring in the greater Ellsworth and MDI area, raising thousands of dollars for Downeast Horizons, a non-profit that assists and supports individuals with developmental disabilities, and also works to raise awareness.

“The most important thing is early intervention,” said Jeff Jones, Downeast Horizons Adult Services Director. “The earlier children get services the better, so I would ask any parents out there if you’re thinking about getting your child services, do it sooner than later. And I hope that if this event brings one thing to the forefront, it’s early intervention.”

But those who take part in the Walk-A-Thon say there are lots of other reasons that make the event so important.

“I think for people to just like, be their self and, you know, have awareness of other people,” said Walk-A-Thon participant Alec Spanks.

“Basically happiness,” added Walk-A-Thon walker James Forrest. “Go home and tell your family or you had a good time. You spent time with your friends and stuff, and the clients and staffs. Basically just have the best day ever.”

The route is only a little more than a mile; down State Street, up Main Street, onto School Street and then back to Knowlton Park where it started.

But in the end, the annual Autism Awareness Walk-a-Thon isn’t really measured by distance or dollars raised.

“I think it brings our community closer together,” siad Jones. “You’ll see shop owners coming out of their buildings, waving, shaking hands as people walk by. It’s really just a great community event.”

For more information about Downeast Horizons, check out their website at

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