Charlotte teen becomes ‘Hero for the Walk’ for Autism Speaks

Submitted by Jamie Boll
Friday, September 13th, 2013, 2:00pm

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV)- Video: Watch WBTV’s full story with Donovyn Harris

Donovyn Harris doesn’t mind talking about autism. He just wishes he didn’t have it.

“Autism is a special need,” said Donovyn. “It’s hard for me to have it.”

The hardest part, the part that hits you right in the heart, is autism’s toll on the simplest of human needs. The ability to connect with a friend.

“It’s hard to make friends,” said Donovyn. “It’s hard to know people it’s not good.”

“He wants friends on his term,” said Donovyn’s Mother Hayley Harris. “He hasn’t found somebody that he connects with.”

Thankfully though Donovyn has Vyncent, Jordyn and Tiesyn. Three brothers who have his back.

“Yeah, that’s the brother code,” said Vyncent. “We look out for each other.”

“He needs to be treated like a normal person because others are going to treat him like he’s four or five years old,” said Jordyn.

Donovyn is almost 15 year old. He was diagnosed with autism at age 3. His parents, who are both counselors, knew it was coming, even though the doctors were having a hard time actually saying it.

“We just said you can say what it is because we knew what it was,” said Hayley. “But I think it’s hard for people to tell you.”

One child in 88 is diagnosed with autism. The rate has jumped 10% a year over the past several years. There are lots of theories as to why. Promising leads are being tracked down in labs, better therapies are being designed in classrooms across the country. It all takes money.

“Donovyn loves charities and raising money,” said Hayley.

And that love and Donoyn’s big smile are helping raise lots of money. Donoyvn is the 2013 Autism Speaks ‘Hero for the Walk.’

His picture is being used to promote walk events across the country. He also appears in television commercial promoting the ‘Walk Now for Autism Speaks’ event coming up in the Charlotte area.

The walk will be held Saturday, September 28th at zMax Dragway in Concord. Registration on walk-day starts at 8:30 a.m. The walk itself kicks off at 10 a.m. Click here for more information.

The Harris family is hoping for a big turnout.

“I’m worried that people are going to tire of it and not give,” said Haylee. “Because we heard that autism thing it’s a fad and unfortunately it’s not going anywhere.”

If you ask Donovyn why people should show up he says, “to support me and raise some money for Autism Speaks.”

If you’d like to donate to Donovyn’s team click here. You can create your own walk team, join one or just make a donation, by clicking here.

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