UNION — A local fundraiser will raise money to fight autism on both local and worldwide levels.
The fundraiser — featuring a chicken stew/hot dog/bake sale and a silent auction — will be held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Union National Guard Armory.
Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair will prepare his famous chicken stew for the event, and quarts of stew can be pre-ordered at the county supervisor’s office, WBCU or Tubozzz. All food orders at the event can be either dine-in or carry-out. Tea will be donated by Bojangle’s.
The event will also include music provided by Union’s own DJ BIG and an appearance from a “Summer Santa Claus.”
The silent auction will include items such as restaurant gift certificates, oil changes, tools, tickets for events in surrounding areas, weekend use of a BMW, and the most recently added item — the Doug Foley Drag Racing Experience.
Doug Foley is a Top Fuel team owner and driver with more than 15 years experience in drag racing at all levels. Foley opened his drag racing center in 1997.
“If you’ve ever wanted to drive a dragster, now’s your chance to experience the thrill!” the website states.
The half-day course starts with a one-hour orientation, where basic safety and operational procedures are discussed. When orientation is completed all drivers will be issued necessary safety equipment and secured in a state-of-the-art dragster capable of reaching speeds well over 100 mph in mere seconds. The first pass will consist of a long, smokey burnout, launching the car, and a 300-foot pass. More information about the experience may be found at www.dougfoley.com.
Proceeds from Saturday’s event will be split 50-50, with half going to the South Carolina Autism Society and the other half going to Autism Speaks.
The auction has been organized by Gator and Betsy Hudson. The Hudsons’ 10-year-old son Kyle was diagnosed with autism at age three and Fragile X syndrome — the leading genetic cause of autism — at age four.
“Yes, we want to raise a lot of money, but our main goal is to create awareness,” Betsy said.
She also quoted a doctor saying that parents’ hopes and dreams for children often “go down the tubes” when they are diagnosed with autism.
“It’s not the end of the world,” she said. “These are special children. They learn differently, but we all learn in our own way.”
She said worldwide organizations like Autism Speaks and regional organizations such as the South Carolina Autism Society help to point people with questions or concerns in the right direction. The Hudsons know firsthand what it is like to need that sort of guidance, and they are eager to help others receive the same support.
“Everybody we can help will have one less problem than we have had to deal with,” Gator said.
The Autism Speaks website creates awareness and helps parents know the signs of autism through videos which point out specific developmental delays.
According to the Autism Speaks website, it is estimated that one in every 110 children is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. An estimated 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide are affected by autism. Government statistics suggest the prevalence rate of autism is increasing 10-17 percent annually. There is no established explanation for this increase, although improved diagnosis and environmental influences are two reasons often considered. Studies suggest boys are more likely than girls to develop autism and receive the diagnosis three to four times more frequently. Current estimates are that in the U.S. alone, one out of 70 boys is diagnosed with autism.
For more information about Autism Speaks, visit www.autismspeaks.org. For more information about the South Carolina Autism Society, visit www.scautism.org.
For more information about the upcoming silent auction, call Gator Hudson at (864) 762-6301.