April is autism awareness month and the Autism Society of NC, Surry County Chapter thought what a better way to spread the awareness in the community than to have a walk in Surry County.
The first-ever Autism Walk of Surry County will be held this Saturday at Riverside Park. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the walk begins at 9 a.m.
Jennifer Nester, who is a local spokeswoman for the disease, said the walk has drawn a lot of attention from local businesses like Nester Hosiery, that has made socks with the autism puzzle piece on it. She said representatives from the company will be giving away 300 pairs of socks the day of the walk.
Ingram Johnson, owner of Move2Melt, will be on hand for the event for those who would like to do Zumba during the walk.
“We just want to let people know there is an autism society in Surry County,” said Nester.
She said a local doctor, who can give an autism diagnosis, which she said is rare, will be on hand for the event as well.
Behavioral Services, Easter Seals and Special Olympics representatives will be at the event as well.
“It’s going to be a great event,” said Nester.
There will be several vendors there set-up at booths to provide resources and information to families who may not know what services are available for them. Door prizes will be given out after the walk. Everyone that registers at the walk will receive a door prize ticket and more may be purchased.
There is no charge for the event but donations are welcome. Proceeds from the walk will go to the Autism Society of NC, Surry County Chapter, which is hosting the event. Lisa Jeffreys is president of the group and Bridget Soots is the secretary/treasurer.
“We provide help, support and resources to families that are affected by autism. These families have nowhere to turn but from the help of our Surry County Support Group. There’s nothing no more supportive than talking to the same people that are going through the same issues that you are dealing with,” said Soots. “Did you know every 20 minutes a child is diagnosed with autism? The rate of autism was one in 10,000 just 10 years ago; now it affects one in 90 children and one in 70 boys. Autism is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the United States. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis and cancer combined.”
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects a person’s ability to understand what they see, hear and otherwise sense. It is a brain disorder that impacts communication, social, interaction and behavior. No two people are the same. At this time, no cure has been found for autism. However, with individualized treatment, education and support, children and adults can improve and develop skills that will allow them to live and participate in the community, Soots said.
Soots said autism is expensive. She said it costs a family more than $1.5 million over the lifetime for the loved one.
“This year, with the financial condition of our country and nation as it is, we desperately need your help and support of this worthwhile event. Involve your employees, friends or family by committing to join us for our walk on Saturday with our children, you will definitely be touched,” said Soots.
Also, during the month of April, Salon Wet is selling blue hair extensions for $10. Those who have the extensions put in can vote for either Mount Airy and North Surry high schools in a bit of a friendly competition between the schools. Proceeds will go to the Surry County chapter.
“We would like to thank all of our sponsors for their support. We would like to thank Behavioral Services Inc., Salon Wet, Pam Padgett, Jennifer Nester and the Nester Family for their help and support. I also would like to thank Ingram Johnson from Move2Melt Studio,” said Soots.
The Autism Society of NC, Surry County Chapter meets the last Thursday of every month at the Salvation Army on South Street at 6:30 p.m.
To make a donation to the Autism Society of NC, Surry County Chapter mail a check to: Bridget Soots, Southern Community Bank and Trust, 255 E. Independence Blvd.,Mount Airy, NC 27030.
For more information, contact Lisa Jeffreys at 789-0706 or Bridget Soots at 789-2982 or 401-7105.
Reach Mondee Tilley at email@example.com or at 719-1930.