First annual Duck Derby raises funds for autism


SCOTIA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It’s a sight you don’t see everyday — Bright, yellow, rubber duckies dropped off a bridge. It’s all part of the first annual Duck Derby for autism.

For someone who doesn’t have it, it can be very tough to understand what autism is, but at Saturday’s event comes a new mascot that can help visualize it: Rubber duckies.

How many? Try over 1,000, all dropped off the side of a bridge in Scotia, raising awareness for families with autistic children.

“They deserve to have the same things that our other children have,” said Sherry Magiera, who adopted an autistic child. “If that’s what we can get to then it’s well worth what we are doing today.”

Sherry Magiera adopted Jacob when he was just a few days old. At sixteen months, they discovered he was autistic.

“We learned a lot with autism,” Magiera said. “Never really knew a lot about it until we got him and started looking into a bunch of things for him.”

Now, she and her family can’t imagine life without him.

“He didn’t have nothing, but at the end of the day he had everything he needed,” Magiera added.

This is just one of many families with stories like this. Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara played a big role at Saturday’s event by not only attending but, helping to organize it as well.

“This is my son Michael,” Santabarbara said. “He was diagnosed with autism at age 3.”

Santabarbara says working to raise awareness is crucial.

“One in 68 are diagnosed with autism,” Santabarbara said. “That means one in 68 adults will someday be living with autism. It also means one in 68 seniors so on and so on. But that means there’s a crisis.”

Events like this one, help.

“We’re finding that there’s different challenges autism families are facing,” Santabarbara added. “Challenges that we share together, but we can also come up with solutions together.”

In the end, nearly $10,000 is raised for the autism society. Another win for the Magiera family and their son Jacob.

“He’s just totally, totally amazing,” Magiera said. “What others can’t do, he can do.”

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