Posted by: Autism Speaks | March 12, 2010

Why I Walk: For My Brother

One in every 110 children are diagnosed with autism in the United States. One in every 70 boys born today are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Autism is the nation’s fastest-growing serious developmental disorder. I want to help those children diagnosed with autism.

My name Kristina Cooney and I am thirteen years old. My brother, Gerard, who is now eight, has autism. Not many people understand how autism makes the simplest tasks extremely difficult. Most times, my brother cannot express when he his hungry, tired, or in pain. Without a cure, Gerard will never be able to experience the same joys that Brian and I will grow up to enjoy. He will not go to a regular middle school and high school. Without a cure, he will not make friends, be part of a sports team and drive a car. Many things Brian and I look forward to doing. Living independently is unlikely without a cure.

My goal is to raise at least $1,500 this year,and to help my brother and many others as well. When I grow up, my dream is to become a Speech Language Pathologist, to help other children strive to reach their fullest potential. I am proud to represent Gerard T. Cooney as my family and I walk on March 7, 2010. I hope that many others will join my team and donate to help a very important cause. Thank you, and I hope to see you on my team, Gerard’s Dream. Together we can find the missing pieces.

Visit Kristina’s Page.



  1. You are such a wonderful young lady. Thank you so much for being you. I have a son with autism . I know how hard it can be. Your parents must be sooooo proud of you. God bless you and your family.

  2. Your words about your brother are so wonderful and I know they come from your kind heart. My son, Ricky, will turn 22 this coming Monday (March 29), and he is nonverbal. I am blessed, as your family is, with a daughter who is dedicated and compassionate beyond her years. Jamie is 15 and, like you, a very talented young woman who has written beautifully about her brother. Like you, we realize that Ricky can’t express his feelings in words, will never make friends, will never drive a car, will never play on a sports team, will never be able to work or live independently or have a so-called “normal” educational experience without a cure.
    We plan to walk with the Albany, NY, chapter of the Autism Society of America. I will use your beautiful words as a model as we try to raise funds to help the cause.
    We wish you and your family success and good luck in everything you do.

  3. Your brother is blessed to have a sister like you. I too have a brother with autism and because of him I am becoming more involved with autism speaks hoping to find answers and resources as to what I can do to help. The best medicine so far, for our brothers, is to show them a lot of love and hug them every day and tell them you love them. Hopefully one day there will be a cure.

  4. I was so touched by what you wrote that I donated $25 on your page yesterday and will be processing a corporate matching or it. You are a remarkable young lady. I have a son with autism who has an 11 year old sister who is as wonderful, caring, and thoughtful with her 8 year old brother as you are with yours. Thank you for doing this!

  5. My son is 13 and has autism and both of my daughters are so good to him. One of them is a teacher for 7th graders and just had a lesson to her students about autism and her little brother Josman. My other daughter is in college taking Comm-D classes to become a Speech Therapist. Keep on loving your brother as my daughters love their brother and he will be ok.

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