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Autism walk is Saturday

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Event will be held at 10 a.m. April 13 at Graham Memorial Park

By Stephen Lega

The Working the Puzzle for Autism Walk returns to Lebanon this weekend as part of the ongoing effort to increase awareness about autism throughout the community.
“I really just want people to know that everybody is invited,” said Lisa Nally-Martin, the event organizer.
The walk is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at Graham Memorial Park. In the event of rain, the walk will be moved to Lebanon Middle School.
The event will include information about autism as well as door prizes, inflatables, sand art, face painting, kids games, a silent auction and a balloon release.
The Marion County Cattlemen’s Association will also be cooking at the walk.
Portions of the proceeds will purchase Project Lifesaver bracelets for four individuals with autism (three in Marion County and one in Washington County). These bracelets contain a transmitter that makes it easier to locate the individual wearing one if they go missing. Since the walk started, Nally-Martin said 15 Project Lifesaver bracelets have been purchased for area families.
Some proceeds will also be donated to the Michala Riggle Beading to Beat Autism Foundation.
Nally-Martin said medals will be presented to each individual with autism at the event, and their families will be eligible to win an iPad, iPod or a $250 gift basket with therapy supplies or software. Nally-Martin explained that these devices and computers are often helpful for individuals with autism.
Booths with information about autism services and treatments will be set up, and autism awareness items will be available for purchase.
Nally-Martin said Working the Puzzle for Autism, Inc., is in the process of creating a non-profit organization, which will allow the local organization to apply for grant funding. In addition to the proceeds from the walk, donations will also be accepted.
Last year’s walk raised $8,500, although Nally-Martin said she does not have a fundraising goal for this year’s event.
“I feel like whatever comes in is meant to be,” she said.