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Why I Walk - Andy Carfagna 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 View Comments

Hi, my name is Andy Carfagna.  I am 17 years old and am the big brother of Danny who 15 years old. Life with my brother is very different than most other brother’s throughout the world. Danny has a severe case of Autism. Living with Danny, my family and I have lots of ups and downs. He can be one of the best brothers when he is happy and laughing in the good times. But, that is not always the case. He can be anxious, upset, or sometimes, something is set off in his head that puts him into a huge fit where he is jumping up and down, screaming and at times aggressive. These episodes will happen for about 30-45 minutes once or twice a week. When he was really bad in the summer these fits took place every day and we had to send him to the hospital where the trialed different medications.  I went to see him at the hospital and I felt so bad for him. This seemed to help him when he was released for about 3-4 weeks.  He came home a little anxious but they said that was from having nothing in the hospital and now having everything bombarded at him all over again. Now, he is sometimes good and sometimes bad or anxious.  Lately, he seems to be having outbursts again which scares me because you never know when he is too much to handle and we will have to send him back to the hospital. His latest outburst was today. These outbursts are hard to stand sometimes so today I decided to write my feelings down.

When I hear someone say how bad their life is, it makes me mad.  They never dealt with this problem my family has. He is biting, screaming, and fighting with us and people are complaining how they are having a problem with a friend or how they have so much homework or how life is so tough when they don’t know what tough is. Danny is the one with the tough life.  The rest of us are lucky.   My brother can’t talk like we can, doesn’t have any friends like we do, can’t control his tantrums like we do, can’t control his own fate like we do, and can’t make decisions for himself each day like we do. I love him like any brother would and give him the care and attention that he deserves to have every day like a normal person should have. I wish he would have the same chances that any other 15 year old boy could have. I wish he could play sports, get a job, have friends, have a girlfriend, get married, have a family, have grandkids, drive a car, have everything a normal person could have. But no, he has to deal with this thing called Autism.  It is completely unfair. I truly feel bad for all the families who have to deal with these problems. But, researchers are trying to cure these problems every day. Maybe someday it can help my brother and many other kids like Danny.  One in 110 people have Autism.   It is growing not just in the country but throughout the world. So, I know that I will make the most of my life after reading this story. Will you? Make a difference in the lives of people with Autism.  Join us on Saturday, June 4th at Heinz Field for the Autism Walk and be part of Danny’s Dream Team.

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The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.