BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- Nearly 1 in 59 children will be diagnosed with autism in the United States, according to the CDC.
One metro man is planning a five month hike across the Appalachian Trail in honor of his brother. With every mile, he hopes to raise money for local charities specializing in special needs.
Two years ago, Eliot Huffman came up with the idea to start the non-profit "A Walk for Sam" inspired by his brother.
"Sam is my younger brother diagnosed with low functioning form of autism." Huffman said. "He is a great kid and a blessing in so many peoples lives."
Huffman said his brother attended the ACI Learning Center and knows first hand the impact of the program.
"When I was in the military for sometime, every time I came home on leave, I'd be able to see Sam and see the progress he had made since the last time I was home," Huffman said.
Now, Huffman wants to help other families.
On Saturday, dozens of people showed up to Applebees in Blue Springs for a pancake breakfast, supporting the Huffman family as Eliot gears up for his cross-country hike. He plans to walk 2,100 miles, the full length of the Appalachian Trail.
"The trail is all about resilience, it is all about mental toughness, it's all about being able to wake up every day no matter the circumstances. I know that is something my little brother does on a regular basis so I think that will really help to put things in perspective for me," Huffman said.
To learn more or to donate, click on the link here.