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Benefit planned for autistic teen

Daniel Olson is a 17 year-old Farmington High School student. He's a good student, who has a passion for German and history. He's also autistic.

As a little boy doctors told Daniel's parents he may not ever speak. The family didn't accept that and have worked tirelessly with Daniel to defy that prognosis.

"He's worked so hard to get where he's at," said his mom, Peggy Olson.

The family's hard work has paid off. Daniel is in mainstream classes at Farmington High School. He lettered in marching and concert band. And his dad says he's an exceptional artist.

"He's made remarkable strides and is a good son," said Glenn Olson, Daniel's father.

For the past three year Daniel has taken German. Peggy said he's developed a passion for the language, the people and the history of the country. Daniel even received an award from the German government for his fluency.

In June Daniel has the opportunity to travel to Germany with his classmates. But with his condition he can't travel without a caretaker.

His family desperately wants to provide the opportunity for him to go but it's expensive to send two people. They've saved enough money to send Daniel but need to raise enough to send another person, most likely his mom, with him.

"He deserves this trip and it could be life changing for him," said Glenn.

In hopes of making the trip happen, there will be a fundraiser at Jamm Dance in Rosemount, which is owned by Daniel's sister, Angie Olson. The benefit will be held from noon to 6 p.m. March 6. The event will include lunch provided by Famous Dave's, a silent auction and door prizes.

"This is a really big deal for him. He works so hard. It would just be awesome to do this for him," said Angie.

Cost to attend the benefit is $10 for adults or $4 for children.

Anyone interested making a cash donation can mail checks to Farmington High School funds marked to Daniel Olson German Account, Attn: Frau Cheryl Wason, 20655 Flagstaff Ave. Farmington MN, 55024. Checks can also be dropped off at JAMM Dance Co, Monday through Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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