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Surfing Organization Helps Raise Autism Awareness in Ocean City

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Surfers Healing brings families living with autism and pro-surfers from all over the world together for a day.
Bryan Russo
Surfers Healing brings families living with autism and pro-surfers from all over the world together for a day.

In Maryland, more than a hundred autistic children gathered on the beach in Ocean City this week to experience the feeling of catching a wave thanks to the organization, Surfer's Healing.

Deborah Parker drove from Hershey, Pa. so three of her five children, Jacob, Sofia and Liam, all of whom have autism, could go into the ocean for the first time.

She says 14-year-old Jacob was the most apprehensive, but seems to have caught the surfing bug after one wave.

"Even though he came in screaming, he loved it and he wants to go back out," she says.

Moments like these are happening all over the beach – an opportunity created by the group Surfer's Healing. The organization brings families living with autism and pro-surfers from all over the world together for a day.

The event is designed to increase awareness of autism, but Steve Tomari, a surfer from Hawaii’s Big Island says, for him, it's about something pure and simple.

"It put a smile on their faces, and that's all that matters right now," says Tomari.

For Deborah Parker, the smiles on her kids' faces made it well worth the five-hour drive to Ocean City.

She says it's been one of her favorite days ever on the beach.

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