BELMAR, NJ — “What most people do not realize is when you are diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, you still have hope, dreams and plans for a bright future just like everyone else. Disabilities, physical or mental, do not interfere with those aspirations in life, and they certainly do not interfere with mine.”

And with those words, Belmar resident Christian McCloskey has launched a college fund through gofundme to help with his tuition costs. The Manasquan High School honors graduate has set a $7,000 fund-raising goal so that he can return to The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) as a sophomore, majoring in chemistry with a specialty in Japanese.

Since he was diagnosed as a child with Asperger’s, which is on the autism spectrum, he said he has gone through years of therapy in order to “overcome” his disability.

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Although only 19 years old, McCloskey has achieved a host of accomplishments, including being a top student at Manasquan High School, which earned the Belmar Elementary School graduate a PTO scholarship for his freshman year at TCNJ. One of his stellar achievements has been attaining the Boys Scouts’ rank of Eagle Scout — its highest achievement — with Belmar Troop 40.

“I was able to conquer my fears and help other children with autism who were in my troop overcome their fears,” he wrote on his gofundme page. “I went through years of speech therapy, occupational therapy, food therapy, social behavior therapy, and overall preparation to be a good example that anyone with a disability can still succeed in life.”

However because many of those therapies were not covered by insurance, it has taken a financial toll on his family over the years — and the reason why he is reaching out to the community through the gofundme effort.

“I would truly appreciate to continue studies at The College of New Jersey, and I believe that I could fulfill my aspirations with your support,” he added.

To read more of McCloskey’s story, click here.

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