Originally created 09/23/04

Autism walk helps families with expenses



The fifth annual Walk for Autism Augusta will be held Saturday to raise money for families of children with autism, a brain dysfunction usually diagnosed in children ages 2-5 that affects their social skills.

Check-in, registration and activities will begin at 10 a.m. near the fountain at the Eighth Street bulkhead.

There is no charge to participate in the walk. Walkers can obtain pledge sheets Saturday morning or in advance at Taylor Toyota in North Augusta, Taylor Auto Group on Washington Road, Dino's Chicago Express on Furys Ferry Road, and all Aiken and Augusta Alltel retail stores. Those with pledges of $100 will receive a T-shirt.

Walk activities include giving away hotel stays, gift certificates, tickets to Six Flags Over Georgia and other prizes. A clown, live music, food, drinks and a golf cart raffle also will be featured.

A leisure three-mile walk starting at the corner of Eighth and Reynolds streets will follow. With police to keep the roads clear, walkers will take Reynolds Street from Eight to 10th Street, cut across to Broad Street, head up to Third Street, then return to the starting point. The event will end around noon.

Lori Moczadlo, the executor and treasurer of the walk, said the event is a fund-raiser for scholarships to help parents provide applied behavioral analysis therapy, a highly structured behavior modification program in which parents hire a therapist to visit and work with their child, she said.

"We thought a great thing to do was to have a walk for parents to help pay for the therapy because it is an overwhelming burden financially," Mrs. Moczadlo said. "These programs cost from $1,500 to $2,500 a month. The more money we bring in the more we can provide to families and alleviate their financial burden."

Last year's event raised $30,000. The goal this year, Mrs. Moczadlo said, is $50,000.

"Sometimes we get strangers who just want to walk or make a donation. That's a wonderful experience," she said.

For more information, call 863-8443.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Walk for Autism Augusta

WHEN: Check-in and activities at 10 a.m. Saturday; walk follows

WHERE: Starting at the Eighth Street bulkhead downtown

PHONE: 863-8443

Reach C. Samantha McKevie at (706) 823-3552or samantha.mckevie@augustachronicle.com