Mansfield resident Greg Kanevski didn't know what do when his son was first diagnosed with autism about two years ago.
Now, Kanevski wants to organize a team of area residents, including from Sharon, for Autism Speaks' Walk for Southern New England at Colt State Park in Bristol, R.I.
Each community for the team will have its own Autism Speaks page on Autism Speaks, Kanevski said.
"For the families, we'll do the administrative work," he said.
Kanevski said his son was diagnosed with a form of autism called Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, also known as atypical autism.
Their friends and family offered as much support as possible, but "family members, as much as they love and try to help, they just can't appreciate it if they're not living with an austistic child," he said.
"The stress on the (family) relationship, the stress on the family dynamics, and of course the stress on the child," he said.
Kanevski reached out and found Autism Speaks. His first encounter with events run by the organization locally was the Walk in Rhode Island.
"The first year we heard about it, we were just overcome with emotion by the sheer number of people that were there," he said.
"That caused us to get involved last year to raise funds."
Kanevski said that he and his wife raised about $14,000 for the walk last year by matching donations from family and friends. The Kanevskis themselves raised about $6,800 for the event.
"We know there are a lot of people in this town and this community that are faced with the same challenges we are," he said.
"We know there are a lot of people who want to get involved."
For more information on how to help and to donate for Kanevski's team, email email@example.com.