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Thousands Raise Funds, Walk For Autism At MOA

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) -- Thousands came together at the Mall of America Saturday to raise money for an organization that helps families dealing with autism.

More than 14,000 children in Minnesota have autism and many families turn to Fraser for help -- the St. Paul-based organization offers therapy, resources, and other services.

"We support Fraser," said Sheana McCoy, whose son has autism.

And that had more than 2,000 strolling through MOA's hallways for a purpose.

The sixth-annual Fraser Walk for Autism brought families from around the state, and each had a different story on how autism has affected their lives and how Fraser helped.

"It's a full-time job," McCoy said. "With the therapy and support that we've been getting, he's been getting better."

John Hawley's son Tyler has autism.

"They helped me and my wife diagnose my son with some of the disabilities that he has," Hawley said.

The Hawley family hasn't missed the Autism Walk in years, but on Saturday morning, the family noticed the absence of one.

"My wife died on Nov. 16 from pulmonary embolism," said Hawley.

In grieving for his wife, Janelle, John saw an opportunity to both help and heal.

"Our goal was $1,500, but we raised $23,000 for Fraser," he said.

Money that will pay to continue Fraser's work for other families dealing with autism.

For John it's about honoring a memory.

"She'd be speechless," he said.

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