Teen with autism celebrates 19th birthday with drive-by parade

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CASTLE HAYNE, NC (WWAY) — Saturday’s storms let up just in time for a special birthday celebration.

Dante Brown, a Castle Hayne teenager with autism, usually wishes for cards for his birthday.

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This year, he got a little more than that.

“You got a drive by what?” Dante’s mom Linda Lee asked him. “Birthday!” Dante replied.

Motorcycles, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Deputies, friends and firetrucks all made an appearance to celebrate Dante’s 19th birthday.

This is Dante’s last birthday as Dante Brown.

His mom says she and her husband, James, will adopt Dante after they have cared for him for 19 years by the end of August, officially making him Dante Lee.

She says Dante is the greatest joy of their lives.

“We thank God for allowing us to have him in our life from the day he was 3 days old and now he’s 19 and he is our greatest blessing,” Linda Lee said.

“The entire time we’ve had him it’s been a blessing and a joy,” James Lee said.