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Feb 11,2008
Canadian braves blizzard for autism walk
by UPI

OTTAWA - A Canadian man is walking nearly 300 miles from Toronto to Ottawa in some of the winter's worst weather to draw attention to the need to help those with autism.

Stefan Marinoiu, 49, told Canwest News Service he left his home to begin the 281-mile trek Jan. 31 to "plead with the politicians" to do more for those with the affliction. Marinoiu, who has a 15-year-old son with autism, embarked without even telling his wife his plan and has battled blinding snows and frostbite.

"Having an autistic child is like having a present and not being able to unwrap it," Marinoiu said. "I have been silent for 15 years. All the stress, all the pain, no resources, I said I gotta do something and I just walked out the door."

Ontario Provincial Police stopped him the first night for walking illegally on the highway. Since then they've been keeping an eye out for him and sometimes advance him to the nearest town.

"They told me I was gonna freeze to death," he said. "It has been so cold you feel like you are going to die the next second but I take the next step. I am walking for all the tens of thousands who are like my son. No matter what, I am going to accomplish this."

He hopes to arrive in Ottawa Monday.

© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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