LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A New York man with Asperger’s syndrome is rollerblading across the country to spread awareness for autism.
Brian Patrick, 43, was diagnosed with Asperger’s, which is often considered a high-functioning form of autism, a few years ago.
Last September, Patrick left New York and rollerbladed to different U.S. cities in order to educate people about the developmental disorder.
“I do have insight… I do have experience. What can I do to help people?” he told CBS2’s Stephanie Simmons.
Patrick said his journey was inspired by one of his children.
“There are times… having an autistic child… it’s hard. It’s time-consuming and it can be tiresome,” he said.
Patrick, who picked up rollerblading last summer, prefers to skate alone.
However, he does have one friend along for the ride—a backpack named Melvin.
“I’ve had no fear in this journey…except for the dark. I’m not a big fan of the dark. There are times I will talk to (Melvin). There’s no one else there. And this backpack has been with me since day one. I know it’s strange. It’s not like we’re having intellectual conversations. It’s more of a, ‘Should we go another 10 miles?’ He usually says yes, so we keep going,” said Patrick.
The 43-year-old said he has one more goal to accomplish before he heads home for good.
“I’m going from San Diego to Jacksonville, Florida, to set the record coast-to-coast,” he said.