Young cyclist embarks on campaign against autism

Phil Bertino, an autistic cyclist, was joined by a team of professional riders over the weekend to embark on an 84km ride from Accra to Boti Falls to create awareness on autism in the country.

The two-day journey started in Accra (Adenta) to Adukrom on Saturday (44km) and continued on Sunday from Adukrom to (40km) Boti Falls.

They were greeted an enthusiastic crowd that lined along the streets to cheer and the young lad as he rode to fight autism in Ghana.

Accompanied by his parents, Mr and Mrs Bertino and siblings, Princess and Queenie, Phil led the bunch of riders to the finishing point without showing any sign of fatigue.

Young Phil covered the distance in six hours with an average speed of 16km/hr and 19km/hr respectively for Saturday and Sunday.

Ultimately, the young cyclists managed to drum his message loud to thousands of residents from Accra to Boti Falls-ensuring that autistic children were accepted and given the opportunity to grow and recover.

His mother, Mrs Angel Bertino, described the campaign as a success and was delighted the message was loud and clear.

“Autism is not a disease but just a development disorder and children with autism can be supported to grow and utilize their talents like Phil,” she stated.

She said, with Phil and her establishment, the Liztino Center for Children with Special Needs, they were committed to ensuring that autistic children live a normal life in society.

Phil’s trainer, Isaac Sackey applauded the young cyclist for his strength and determination despite his condition.

“He took a challenge that even very able professionals could not and actually execute same to the fullest,” he stated.

He said, the team was working ahead of a Mountain Bike Race scheduled for November 28 with about 50 cyclists including Phil expected to participate.

BY MICHAEL D. ABAYATEYE

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