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April 24. 2013 11:43PM

Londonderry Apple Blossom walk benefits autism causes

LONDONDERRY - Granite State families coping with autism are encouraging supporters to walk a mile (or five) in their shoes.

Sponsored by the Londonderry Fire Department and A Londonderry Emergency Response Team (ALERT), the Apple Blossom 5K Walk for Autism will take place Sunday, May 5.

Walkers of all ages are encouraged to participate in the event, which will raise much-needed funds for the Autism Society of New Hampshire.

Volunteers from ALERT will also be on hand to conduct a voluntary registry for families of children and adults on the autism spectrum.

ALERT has offered the free service for families over the past several years. In 2010, when a young man with autism wandered off into the Musquash Conservation Area off High Range Road, relatives and community members spent a harrowing 24 hours searching for him.

The young man was safely returned home, but the experience led emergency responders to work toward better preparedness.

ALERT spokeswoman Colleen Monks said it's particularly helpful for emergency responders to have information readily available, as it can make for a quicker and less traumatic discovery in the event that an individual with autism goes missing.

Those who wish to take part in the registry will be asked to complete a registration form detailing crucial information about their autistic relatives, as well as have a photo taken.

Event spokeswoman Tricia Hamman said the charity walk has grown in popularity over the years.

"It's a very beautiful walk on wooded trails, going through apple orchards," Hamman said.

Walkers will meet at Moose Hill School, 150 Pillsbury Road, Sunday afternoon. The event begins at 1 p.m.

Registration for the event is $25 per individual and $10 for each additional family member.

The first 50 event registrants will receive a free T-shirt.

Donations will also be accepted, with checks made out to the Asperger's Association of New England.

To register for the race online, go to g2racereg.webconnex.com/blossom5k2013.

For more information, contact Hamman at phamman@londonderrynh.org.


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