Cortland (WSYR-TV) -- A Cortland man is making the trip of a lifetime. He’s walking across the country to raise money and awareness for programs for autistic children. He’s now a month into his trip, as he travels through the mountains of West Virginia.
Will Cefalo started his trek in New York, wearing a silver full-body suit to draw attention. He's raising money for research and for SNACK
-- a center for children with autism spectrum disorders in New York City.
“I really think they're wonderful, and I believe in what they're doing there. So, I wanted to see what I could do to maybe bring some awareness, maybe some funds, but overall just get people aware of what's going on over there,” Cefalo said.
“I'm very proud of what he's doing, but I was proud of Will long before this walk,” said Will’s mom Michelle.
Michelle Cefalo says her son has dedicated his life to helping others and she hopes others will help him too. She says she worries about his safety.
“I'm hoping that people, because this is such a great cause, that people will kind of watch over him and say, ‘Hey, do you need a helping hand here?” she said.
As Will walks, he finds places where he hopes to set up new centers for children with autism. One father he met said he doesn’t know where to turn for help for his child with a developmental disability.
“We were talking at a gas station parking lot for about an hour about that there was nothing where he lives here in West Virginia, as far as programs for his son,” Will said.
“This is the shining moment, no doubt about it. He has worked with autistic children for a number of years now and he does not feel they're spotlighted enough for anything really,” Michelle said.
Will has already made it from New York City to the mountains of West Virginia. He’s now going to follow Route 50 to Saint Louis, then switch to Route 66 to avoid the Rockies and head to Los Angeles. He expects the trip to take four more months.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
, 1 in 88 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder. To learn more about Will’s walk across the country or to donate, CLICK HERE.