Brian Patrick is heading home but it will take him several months to get there. He’s on inline skates and he’s on the other side of the continent.
The 43-year-old father of an autistic son wanted to raise awareness of autism so he skated from the eastern end of Long Island in Montauk, NY to Los Angeles, CA on behalf of Autism Speaks. With a sponsorship by Rollerblade and a launch date of September 20, 2012 at 10pm, he rolled into various cities to talk about autism.
But his cause was also personal – he himself was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 2010. It explained some of his erratic behavior over the past ten years. Once he understood his condition, he was able to deal with it. “My life was based on allowing Asperger’s to manipulate me and now – I manipulate Asperger’s,” he wrote on Rollerblade’s website. “No one would ever recognize I have Asperger’s until you watch the mannerisms; poor / no eye contact and my sensory issues.”
Because of his being a traffic hazard, he skated mostly at night due to repeated requests by local police. If he had one fear, it was a fear of the dark so he had nightly chats with his backpack, affectionately named “Melvin”. “Melvin” was consulted for a variety of things, such as how much further to go.
Upon his arrival in Los Angeles, he blew through a red light going down a hill around “40 mph”, causing a car to swerve to avoid hitting him and earned his 103rd pullover by police.
On January 18, 2013, almost four months since he began, Patrick became the third person to cross the United States on inline skates. He hopes to complete a San Diego, CA to Jacksonville, FL segment in order to set a coast-to-coast record before returning home to New York. Amazingly, Brian learned inline skating in 2011.
Catch up on all of the drama here on his Facebook page.