Michael Dingwell has dedicated his time to walk from Deer Lake to St. Anthony to promote autism awareness for his son Elliot, who is on the autism spectrum. He dedicated the name of the walk to Rainbow Struggle because it signifies hope and believes that walking from the mountains in Bonne Bay correlates with the experience of working with individuals with autism. He is a huge advocate for promoting awareness such as holding vigils and bike rides to promote autism awareness. Dingwell has roots in the Northern Peninsula, where local family encouraged him to do this walk.
Ever since Dingwell’s son was diagnosed with autism, he has hosted a number of events for the autism community to help raise awareness. He believes that having a child with autism is a blessing and will do everything in his power to make a difference for the special needs community. Dingwell’s goal during the walk was to help engage people into the insights and experiences that he was partaking in his journey as a parent and as an advocate for advertising autism awareness. While he was climbing up to the top of the mountains in the Bonne Bay area, he would stop at local schools and share information with students about autism. Along his journey, he was constantly updating everyone by thanking everyone on his ten-day long journey and Northern Peninsula residents for allowing him to stay at their homes during this journey. His purpose was to pay tributes to children who have autism and to the fathers like him who are raising children with autism.
Dingwell wore a coat during the entire walk that signified he was doing this in honor or his son, Elliot. He shared with The Beacon, “This is just one more act of me trying to put my words, my thoughts and beliefs into actions. And sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in, even if you have to stand alone.” Dingwell’s inspiration and devotion to spreading autism awareness will make a difference in our community and our society!