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Annual walk brings awareness to autism

GTNS photo by David Hotle

Cary Salis and his two sons, Ryker and Isaac, walk along the Kewash Trail during the annual Walk for Autism on Saturday, April 13. Proceeds from the walk will benefit WCDC for communicaiton devices to assist individuals with Autism.
GTNS photo by David Hotle Cary Salis and his two sons, Ryker and Isaac, walk along the Kewash Trail during the annual Walk for Autism on Saturday, April 13. Proceeds from the walk will benefit WCDC for communicaiton devices to assist individuals with Autism.

As he pushed a stroller on the Kewash trail with his two sons and listened to music from his phone, Cary Salis thought about his nephew.

Joining with about 25 people who participated in the third annual Walk For Autism, Salis said it was a very good cause. As they passed the fourth mile, he commented that participating in benefit walks of this kind is not something he normally does, but this time the cause had hit close to home.

“I have a nephew who has autism,” he explained. “He’s two years old and was having developmental issues. He wasn’t learning to smile He wasn’t doing a lot of things he should have been doing. That’s when they found out.”

An avid walker, he and his sons, Ryker and Isaac, had come out to the walk Saturday afternoon. This year the proceeds to the walk go to WCDC for communication devices to assist people with autism. Organizer Cole Davies said this year the goal is $1,000 and as the pack of people left the starting area, he said the goal was very close to being reached. The first year the benefit walk had raised $850 and the second year had raised barely $300 because the walk had been rained out.

“We have had companies around Washington donate money and people donate when they join the walk,” Davies said.

Raffle tickets were also sold along they way for prizes at the finish.

Organizer Kayley Clark said both she and Davies had worked at REM care facility and, seeing the number of developmentally challenged people who were being served, had thought a benefit walk during Autism Awareness Month in 2017 would be a great way to increase awareness of the disorder.

“Washington has a large community of people with Autism,” Clark said. She commented for privacy reasons she was unable to give names.

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects communication and social interaction. It impacts the part of the brain, either maximizing or minimizing the desire for sensory needs. It is typically diagnosed within the first three years of a child’s life.

Clark commented she is very happy the community has supported the cause. The organizers say the event will return in 2020.