Light It Up Blue Brings Awareness to Autism

By  | 

PANAMA CITY - A group of locals is trying to bring more awareness to autism through a unique event. For the last three years, the Gulf Coast School for Autism has organized "Light It Up Blue" on the Hathaway Bridge.

As the sun set Wednesday, supporters for autism awareness lined the Hathaway Bridge.

Armed with blue glow sticks, balloons, and clothing, their aim was to catch the attention of passing drivers, informing them of a growing problem.

"It's amazing to see how many people are here tonight. For us, for our children they never met, you know, it's overwhelming. It really is," said Stefany Crocker, a parent of an autistic child.

New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 1 in 68 children have a form of autism.

Officials at the Gulf Coast School for Autism organized light it up blue to create more community awareness of autism.

"Everybody all around the world is lighting their buildings up blue. So I figured, well, if we can't get the buildings to light up blue in Bay County, then we can surely get the bridge and get everybody's attention to get the awareness out there," said Katrin Patterson of the Gulf Coast School for Autism.

This year there was a new attention grabber. PCB Flyboard joined the event in a blue LED suit.

"Things like that mean so much to us. We need that in order to feel like, yes, we're doing the right thing and give us the strength as parents to keep doing it every day," said Crocker.

Patterson says the Gulf Coast School for Autism's goal is to eventually light up both sides of the bridge.