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Walk for Autism to be held Saturday

Jessica Smith

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The Autism Society of Alabama will host its annual Walk for Autism Saturday at Tuscaloosa Magnet School.

Autism affects 1 in 88 people and more than 45,000 people in our state. The Walk for Autism is ASA’s largest fundraising event every year, with 16 different events held throughout the state.

Jaquie McMahon, a sophomore majoring in public relations, is working to promote the event with her public relations writing class.

“I hadn’t even heard of Autism Society of Alabama before this class, but it’s been incredible to see all the work the organization does,” McMahon said. “It truly is a great cause that everyone should know about, so I’m happy we’re helping to spread the word.”

This year ASA has partnered with CrossFit Northridge to organize a CrossFit competition to add something new to the event.

Kelly Dickey, co-chair for the Tuscaloosa walk, believed in growing the numbers for the walk and knew that the CrossFit community would help her do that.

“As a member of CrossFit NorthRidge, I personally have experienced how the CrossFit community will come together to support different causes and each other,” Dickey said.

In April 2012, Gov. Robert Bentley, along with the ASA, declared April as Autism Awareness Month in Alabama. ASA also has a partnership with Autism Speaks and its “Light It Up Blue” initiative. Area businesses, University of Alabama sororities and fraternities, as well as Tuscaloosa and Northport residents have been asked to change their lighting to blue to shine a light on autism awareness.

Bama Hager, policy advisor for ASA, has a child with autism and has been working with the legislature to help support families living with autism spectrum disorders. Hager said the Autism Society of Alabama works very closely with several state agencies to fulfill ASA’s mission of improving the lives of families living with ASD through education and advocacy.

“It is a great honor that Gov. Bentley proclaimed April as Autism Spectrum Disorder Awareness Month in Alabama,” Hager said. “The proclamation is a nice reminder that our state government is supportive of families facing the challenges of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.”

Check-in for the walk will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the walk will start at 9 a.m. The CrossFit competition requires pre-registration to compete. For more information about the walk, please email Dickey at or visit For information about the CrossFit competition, visit


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Walk for Autism to be held Saturday