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J-Mac's jersey retired

Recognized for his performance on and off the court, Jason J-Mac McElwains #52 jersey was retired from the Greece Athena High School basketball program Friday.

If you don't dream it, you can't become it.  It's unbelievable that I can relate that on this team and for autism in our community, J-Mac said.

Internet superstar, J-Mac teamed up with local organization Autism Up in the spring. Well he is certainly an inspiration, Beth Ciardi, a member of the support group, said.

Autism wasnt a part of my life when that video happened, Ciardi said. In fact, back in 2006, Ciardi said people werent even talking about autism.

The increase in the incidents rate is staggering, Ciardi said, now 1 in 50 kids, somebody is going to be directly affected whether its your own child, your neighbor, or somebody else in your level.

The same year J-Macs video went viral, Ciardi had her son Christophertwo years later, he was diagnosed with autism.

Its tough, its very difficult, Ciardi said she turned to Autism Up for support.

J-Macs mother, Debbie McElwain said she remembers the day the doctor diagnosed her son. They told me he would never talk, never read, never attend schoolthat this was the way he was going to be for the rest of his life.

McElwain said she never gave up on her son and never stopped working with him, Once you get one word out of a severely autistic kid, which Jason was--- youve won your ball game.

One word as a toddler led to an opportunity as a teen and now, eight years later, J-Macs story continues to inspire people.

Ciardi said, Seeing him and the opportunities he's been given with an education and being out in the community is what our kids need in order to be successful in their lives.

J-Mac said he is honored to be the face of hope in the autism community. It proves that whatever limitations in life you get are, if you set goals and you have a plan, you can accomplish anything you want in life.

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Washington Times