Newark, DE— Started 10 years ago by a few friends bicycling from Queen Anne, Maryland, to Dewey Beach, Delaware, Bike to the Beach for Autism attracted more than 600 cyclists on July 29 this year. The goal was to promote health and fitness while raising funds and awareness of autism spectrum disorder. In total, the event has raised more than $3 million, and some of these resources support local agencies, such as Autism Delaware.
Offered a choice of 100-, 70-, and 10-mile routes, the cyclists enjoyed a safe and fully supported ride with available bike mechanics, support-and-gear (SAG) vehicles, and EMS as well as rest stops every 10–15 miles. This year, Autism Delaware volunteers manned two rest stops. Captained by Autism Delaware development director David Woods, the first rest stop was located at The Georgetown (Del.) Kiwanis Club Chicken BBQ on Route 404 at Route 18. The second rest stop, captained by Autism Delaware development staff member Frank Shade, was in W.B. Atkins Memorial Park in Millsboro, Delaware.
“Our job,” said Woods of the rest stop volunteers, “was to hydrate and motivate the cyclists to keep going—no matter how far they were cycling. So, we made sure there was plenty of cold water, ice, food, and music to energize them.”
For more information, visit BiketotheBeach.org.
About autism spectrum disorder and Autism Delaware
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that includes impairment in social interaction and social communication. Individuals with ASD also exhibit repetitive patterns of behavior or interest that limit everyday functioning. An intellectual or language impairment is also possible. All these symptoms will first appear in early childhood.
In the fourth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-4), the diagnoses included classic autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified (PDD–NOS). Any individual with a well-established DSM-4 diagnosis—according to the DSM-5 released in May 2013—should be given the diagnosis of “autism spectrum disorder.” The disorder is categorized by severity on a scale of one to three.
Autism Delaware is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit made up of individuals with ASD, their family members, the professionals who serve them, and friends of people with ASD. The agency’s mission is to help people and families affected by ASD. With offices in Newark, Dover, and Lewes, Autism Delaware serves the entire state.
Autism Delaware’s programs and services are supported by state contracts and generous donations from individuals and corporations across Delaware. Third-party fundraising events, such as the Bike to the Beach for Autism, also help provide the income needed to make critical programs a reality. For more information on how to help, visit autismdelaware.org.
Image cutline: Left to right are Autism Delaware development director David Woods, Don Glandon (who rode on Team Matt and Friends for Autism Delaware), and Pete Hayes (Glandon’s brother-in-law and Matt’s father).