EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Radcliffe and Gina Kenison of East Longmeadow are the parents of two autistic sons. For more than a decade, Radcliffe and Gina have devoted themselves to helping families with autistic children.
Their older son, also named Radcliffe, is 14; the younger child, Arthur, is 12.
“When we were first told our first son was diagnosed with autism, we’ll always remember that day. When we took it on together, you’re angry, you’re sad; we wanted to start fundraising, we wanted to take it head on and that’s what we did.”
“We felt helpless, like, what can we do?” says Gina. “We can’t even help our own kids, how can we help other kids going through the same thing?”
Every year, the Kenisons raise money for autism through their autism golf tournament. They call their non-profit, “Radcliffe is the Reason and Arthur Too! Fight for Autism”. What Radcliffe and Gina have done has touched the lives of other parents with autistic children.
Radcliffe says, “What you’ve said, and you get emotional talk about your boys, they said it meant so much to me, and I was able to help them.”
Supporting events such as Autism Walks has made Gina Kenison aware of the increasing number of families with autistic children. Gina says, “We were shocked to see there’s a whole new army of people coming through, and more and more being diagnosed.”
Radcliffe says, “My sons are my life. Autism is what I do every day. They’re my sons, and I’ll do anything to make their life better.”
Radcliffe, an officer in the Hampden Police Department, wrote a poem to his two sons, called ‘2 Little Boys’ Quest’.
“Some say the doors of heaven are guaranteed to be open. For us, there are no guarantees. Some say we’re saints, I am no saint. I believe I was chosen to be a warrior. I didn’t pick this fight. But as long as I have breath, I will fight this fight. I will lead with many soldiers. Forgive me for what I cannot do. Do not judge me or others until we walk our path, and end our journey as yourself and others what you can do to unlock their hidden world.”
Other Hometown Heroes:
- Landon Himmelreich
- Paul Ganieany
- Lt. Brian Tredo
- Sue Lecrenski and Whitney Shortt
- Vicky Martins Auffrey
- Matthew Gosselin