Thousands walk in CLE to raise awareness about autism

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Their numbers were great. Nearly 4,000 people took part in the one-mile walk around Progressive Field Sunday for the Cleveland Walk Now For Autism Speaks.

With each step, they were on pace to raising awareness about autism.  The spectrum disorder presents a person with communication, social and behavioral challenges.  They walked so others would know.

"The struggles that the kids have -- how hard it is for them to function every day, just within our society and being accepted by everybody,” Jessica Durman, a mother of a child with autism, said.

Autism affects one in 68 families, and it is more often found in boys.

"Not many little girls get autism, but she is on the spectrum.  And, we're just here to support her and let her know that autism means awesome,” Angela Dismuke said speaking about her daughter, Mia.

C.J. Franklin, of Cleveland, brought Team Jayden to the walk. He left the day with a hopeful thought about people with autism, like his son.

"Just know that they are people, they're humans.  And, that they have issues.  But they are still smart people, smart kids.  And, with a little help and love they can overcome everything," Franklin said.

The event was also about raising funds. The walk is expected to generate about $250,000.  The money will be used for family support services and research into the cause and cure for autism.

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