Autism Awareness ride raises local funds

By Meg Haskell, BDN Staff
Posted July 26, 2009, at 9:10 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — About 80 motorcycles roared across the river to Brewer, downstream to Bucksport, across the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and back to Bangor on Saturday morning — all for a good cause.

The third annual Ride for Autism Awareness kicked off from the Bangor Waterfront at 9:30 a.m., wrapping up 53 miles later at University College of Bangor, where participants enjoyed a lunchtime cookout.

According to fundraiser organizer Mary Lynn Hersey of the Penquis human services agency in Bangor, the ride raised between $1,000 and $1,500 to benefit area children with autism.

Nationally, one in every 150 children will be diagnosed with one of the many neurologic disorders on the autism spectrum, which range from milder conditions such as Asperger’s syndrome to the debilitating symptoms of “classic” autism.

“In Maine, the numbers are even higher,” said Hersey, who manages autism services for families in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties. “A lot of people have a connection one way or another.”

The causes of autism spectrum disorders are not known, but most medical experts point to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Saturday’s event was marred by one accident. Andrea and Michael Kervin of Winterport, both 64, were injured when their 2006 Honda scooter hit some loose gravel and went out of control. The two were on Route 1A just north of Frankfort on the way back to Bangor when the accident occurred.

Other ride participants stayed with them until medical help arrived.

The pair were taken by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Michael Kervin was treated and then released Saturday. Andrea Kervin remained hospitalized and was listed in fair condition Sunday afternoon. The scooter was a total loss.

Before the start of Saturday’s ride, John Young of Bangor said he was participating in the fundraiser for several reasons.

“I love motorcycling,” he said. “And when it raises money for a good cause, that’s even better.” Young said a former co-worker of his had twin sons who both were diagnosed with autism.

Also interviewed before the start of the ride, Michael and Andrea Kervin said they have friends whose grandchildren have autism diagnoses.

“I feel for them,” Andrea Kervin said.

Money raised at Saturday’s event will help fund local support groups, a resource library and community education services offered through Penquis.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/07/26/news/autism-awareness-ride-raises-local-funds/ printed on August 28, 2014