SCHENECTADY – In Schenectady on Saturday, thousands of ducks were released into the Mohawk River in an unconventional manner, but for a very specific reason.
Five-thousand rubber ducks shot from a cannon into the Mohawk River can make quite a splash. However, it has nothing to with hitting the water. The third Annual Duck Derby is designed to promote autism awareness.
“The way I look at it, like families here — we’re on a journey together to overcome the challenges of living with autism,” explained Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.
Santabarbara has a 16-year old son, Michael, who has autism. By organizing this “Family Day” event at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady, he’s determined to show the world that disabilities don’t define people.
“This is their chance to really talk about what their challenges are and how we can help. Sometimes, they’re little things. Sometimes, they’re big things, but they all need to be addressed,” Santabarbara pointed out.
Santabarbara understands all too well the fear many families have, and the stigma many people often associate with autism.
“You’re not sure really what to expect when you come to something like this,” admitted Brenda Sebast of Amsterdam.
She says there was a time when she was reluctant to bring her son, Ryan, to an event like this.
“Not anymore. I’m pretty confident now when I come. I’ve kind of made some friends and kind of opened to talk to more people,” she explained.
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Levy, Dan. “5,000 Rubber Ducks Shot into Mohawk River to Promote Autism Awareness.” 5,000 Rubber Ducks Shot into Mohawk River to Promote Autism Awareness, 2018, wnyt.com/health/5000-rubber-ducks-shot-into-mohawk-river-to-promote-autism-awareness/5098834/.