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Northeast Arc & Salem News Partner for Autism Essay Contest

When the Northeast Arc decided they wanted to celebrate National Autism Awareness Month by hosting an essay contest for teenagers who have siblings with Autism, we turned to the Salem News to see if they would help to promote it.  They immediately said yes and not only promoted the contest but ran the winning essays in the paper.

Here’s the first place essay titled, “My Sunshine” by Ashley McKean, 17, of Melrose, Massachusetts;

When my dad died three years ago, it was like the world had stopped spinning. All I could think about, all day and all night, was how are my mom and brother going to be okay? Aside from the worry over what this was doing to my brother, who was my dad’s best friend, came along with the excruciating worry of something happening to one of them also. Through the worry, I remembered something, though. After my dad’s accident, I was in hysterics. I went to my brother and hugged him so tight, I refused to let go. I just screamed and cried, and through all this, my brother, who is extremely sensitive to stress, to loud noises, who cannot even speak, put his arms around me and hugged me back. My brother who everyone deemed could not feel emotion, could not understand love or happiness or sadness, or anything really, proved them wrong. In the midst of the hardest moment of my life, I wasn’t the one trying to help my brother, he was the one who was there to help me. The boy the world claimed would never know the difference between good and bad, love and hate, or anything at all really. Every day he just proves the world wrong with his unconditional love that comes so naturally from his heart. So when I worry about losing my sunshine, my brother, I remember that he is stronger than anyone thinks, he is more than what you think.

Read the Salem News article with all of the winning essays here:

Salem News Announces Northeast Arc Essay Contest For National Autism Awareness Month

An essay contest sponsored by Northeast Arc is shining a light on the brothers and sisters of kids growing up with autism.

In the contest, siblings ages 14 to 20 are encouraged to write about their perspectives and their experiences.

“We wanted to give the siblings a voice, and not just making everything bright and cheery,” said Susan Gilroy, director of the Autism Support Center at Northeast Arc. “But we wanted to hear what their struggles were, what their successes are and what they’ve learned along the way with their siblings.”

A developmental disorder, autism affects the way a person communicates and interacts with others. It can range in severity, but Gilroy explained that people with autism typically face social challenges in their daily lives.

For a sibling of someone with autism, that can mean embarrassment at school, or struggles or feelings of neglect at home.

“Siblings are often lost in the daily life of the family when the family is coping with an autism diagnosis,” said Gilroy. “We just want to be sensitive to them.”

Brothers and sisters play important roles in the lives of people with autism.

Read the entire story on the Salem News web site:

Topsfield Fair Jr. King & Queen Pageant

Topsfield Fair to Host Junior King and Queen Pageant

This year’s pageant will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 29 on the Trianon Stage.

Every year the Topsfield Fair hosts a pageant for children between the ages of 5 – 8 years old to become the Junior King and Queen and serve as a representative of the Fair at local parades and other events throughout the year.  This year’s pageant will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 29 on the Trianon Stage. The entry deadline is September 28.

All contestants are asked to be dressed in casual attire.  Each child will be interviewed on stage and be judged according to general appearance, conduct, and personality.

To enter your child, download an application from the Exhibitor’s Handbook section of the fair’s website found at

The 200th Topsfield Fair opens on Friday, September 28 at 1:00pm and will run through Columbus Day, October 8.  Ticket prices for the 2018 Topsfield Fair are $12.00 each September 28, October 1-4 and $15.00 each on October 5, weekends, and Columbus Day (October 8).  Discount admission tickets are available at through September 24, 2018.  General Admission discount tickets can be purchased for only $10.00, which are good any day during the Fair’s 11-day run.  A three-day pass, good any three days, is available for $25.00.  Children under eight with an adult are free. Discounted food vouchers and ride tickets are also available when purchased in advance at

See article on Northshore Magazine site:

Topsfield Fair’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Highlighted in Tri-Town Transcript

Hot dog eating contest at Topsfield Fair to benefit scholarship fund

The B’nai B’rith Booth is sponsoring the first-ever hot dog eating contest at the Topsfield Fair. It will benefit the Essex Agricultural Society Scholarship Fund.

Competitive eaters, listen up. There’s going to be a hot dog eating contest at the Topsfield Fair this year. But, here’s the thing. You’ll be eating quarter-pound franks, as opposed to the standard summer barbeque size.

B’nai B’rith, which has had a booth at the fair for 58 years, is sponsoring the contest in honor of the Topsfield Fair’s 200th anniversary and to benefit the Essex Agricultural Society Scholarship Fund. There will be three qualifying heats on Saturday, Sept. 29, and the finals will be Sunday, Oct. 7.

In announcing the contest, Marc Freedman of B’nai B’rith said, “What is more old-time fair than that?”

He provided details, alongside Topsfield Fair General Manager James O’Brien, during a press briefing at Coolidge Hall on the fairgrounds.

“This is not your wimpy Nathan’s hot dog that we’re talking about here,” Freedman said.

“Show them the photo,” O’Brien told him.

Freedman held up a picture of the quarter-pound Hebrew National Hot Dogs B’nai B’rith has been serving up in its booth at the fair since 1960.

“The first thing you’ve got to ask somebody is, ‘Do you have insurance,’” he joked.

Contestants will have five minutes to see how many they can eat.

“I’m going with an over/under of 12, to see if someone can do that,” Freedman said.

The winner will receive $200, provided by Freedman Financial. All of the $20 registration fees will go toward scholarships.

Read full article & watch video:

WHDH Visits Fuddruckers for 3-Pound Burger Challenge

Brandon Gunnoe and 7News visited Fuddruckers in Reading to cover the annual 3-pound burger challenge.  Proceeds from the event benefits the Martin Richard Foundation.

READING, Mass. (WHDH) — Diners at Fuddruckers in Massachusetts are working up an appetite Tuesday to raise money for the Martin Richard Foundation.

The challenge requires diners to eat a 3-pound burger on a 1-pound bun, plus another pound of fries. If they finish the entire meal in an hour, they get a $25 gift card to Fuddruckers.

Part of the proceeds for entering the contest goes to the Martin Richard Foundation. The charity helps local youth programs in memory of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy killed in the Boston Marathon bombing back in 2013.

The fundraiser is taking place at four Fuddruckers in Massachusetts. Each fundraiser features a runner who is running for the MR8 team in this year’s Boston Marathon.

Out of about 130 people who participated in the challenge, only seven were able to finish the entire meal.