Autism is Real event to raise money for local children Sept. 16

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By Rachel Mergen


“Our biggest mission is to get the community to know more about autism and to help kids build a future for themselves,” Katie Butters declared about citizens working on the upcoming Autism is Real event, a fundraiser for area children who face autism.

The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 16, at Leisure Time in Prairie du Chien from 11 a.m. to midnight. Included in the day will be a bowling tournament, raffle, silent auction, 50/50, a performance by local band Smoking Gun Showdown and meat and gun raffles. Also available will be food and a bouncy house.

Prairie du Chien Police Officer Casey Cox and new K-9 officer Rico will be present for a meet-and-greet. 

One hundred percent of the profits and donations received during the event will go toward autistic children currently enrolled in the Prairie du Chien School District, so that they can have sensory needs available like weighted blankets, learning puzzles and therapy swings.

“There are so many kids being diagnosed with different kinds of autism,” stated Butters, who understands the difficulties of autism very clearly. Her daughter was diagnosed with the condition.

According to Autism Speaks, an organization created to promote solutions of the needs of people with autism,  “Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.”

An estimated one in 42 boys and one in 189 girls in the United States have a form of autism, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

These numbers have pushed the community to declare that autism is a serious concern and must be understood by residents, even if their own loved ones do not face autism in their daily lives. 

Butters mentioned the first step in planning the event, “It started with getting a bunch of people together with a mission for the same cause.” 

Over the years, she donated to many autism foundations, but she never really saw any results locally. She and other supporters recognized the importance of having an event in the area that would help autistic children receive items that support a better life.

Together, the group of locals hopes to complete at least four fundraising events each year, which will span from raffles to garage and bake sales. The bowling tournament will be the first event. In addition, the group also hopes to have monthly meet-and-greets with the community’s autistic children. 

Starting with this event, Butters and others hope to educate the public on the topic of autism and help the community progress in a way that benefits local children who are diagnosed with autism.

Registration for the bowling tournament will take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at Leisure Time. Teams will consist of four people. A registration fee is required. The tournaments will start at noon and 3 p.m.

Local country/rock band Smoking Gun Showdown will perform from 8 p.m. to midnight. The meat raffles will take place at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and the gun raffle will occur at 7 p.m.

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