NEW PORT RICHEY— The Interbay Rotary Clubwill present Cycling Out Autism on Saturday, April 5, at Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park and is still taking sign-ups for riders and sponsors.
In the last four years, the Rotary Club has raised nearly $100,000 to support children in the community who have an autism spectrum disorder. They added a 12-mile route for the novice rider and a new route for our 25 and 50-mile cyclers.
Participants sign up online at www.cyclingoutautism.com then find people to sponsor their cycle. Every cycler will raise $400 through a personal fundraising page and riders in the past have raised as much as $3,000 each year.
The Interbay Rotary club made the decision to support autism with the focus on children. Autism Spectrum Disorder Autism refers to “a group of developmental brain disorders,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health. “The term ‘spectrum’ refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment, or disability, that children with ASD can have.”
ASD is being diagnosed at the rate of 1-in-88 children today with no known cause or cure, according to NIMH. We do not know what causes autism and no current cure exists. Yet, less than 5 percent of NIH research dollars goes toward autism, far less than the 44 percent that goes to childhood cancer or the 20 percentthat funds childhood diabetes even though the prevalence of autism is far greater, the rotary club reports.
The money raised will be donated to three programs that help individuals with ASD and their families. Sydney’s Academy, the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities and the Applied Behavior Analysis Program at the University of South Florida will be the recipients of the donations to continue their work in delivering education, services and supports to children and their families.
The event is from 8 a.m. until noon at Starkey Park, 10500 Wilderness Park Road.
More information on Cycling Out Autism can be found on its website, http://www.cyclingoutautism.com, or by calling Allen Keetch at (813) 367-6756.