Autism Society of N.C. to host first “Zipping for Autism” fundraiser in Asheville

From the press release:

Asheville, NC – Team up on Sunday, June 3, for the exhilarating experience of zipping through the tree tops to support services provided by the Autism Society of North Carolina. Zipping for Autism, to be held at Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures, is the first event of its kind in the country.

Every team of 10 that raises $790 or more will receive a two-hour zipline experience donated by Jeff and Sheena Greiner, owners of the zipline company and parents of a child with autism. Teams will be scheduled for specific time slots throughout the day, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The zipline is located adjacent to Crowne Plaza Resort, about a mile from downtown Asheville.

A full 100 percent of the proceeds raised by teams will go to the Autism Society and remain in Western North Carolina to provide diagnostic services, advocacy and respite care for children with autism. Organizers hope to attract 50 teams and more than $40,000 in donations to provide services in Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey counties.

Participants will have access to eight ziplines through 150-year-old trees, combining mountain vistas with views of the downtown Asheville cityscape. The zipline tour ends with Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures’ signature quarter-mile-long “Skyline,” a zipline towards the downtown Asheville skyline. Zipline canopy rangers will assist all participants and will supply “ground school” training and safety gear.

Teams are required to register by June 1 and slots are filling up fast. Teams or team captains may register, generate donations, and monitor team progress online at www.zippingforautism.com. Volunteers are welcome and may sign up on the website. There will be prizes for team accomplishments, such as most money raised. Title sponsors are Wells Fargo, Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures, and its associated outdoor adventure company, Wildwater.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to give back to the organizations that have served my son over the years,” said Sheena Greiner of Asheville, whose 9-year-old son, O’Reilly, inspired the event. “The funds we raise are important, because with the increasing prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder – one in 70 children born in North Carolina has ASD – there is not enough funding or services to meet the needs of children in Western North Carolina.”

“Early intervention provides the best results for children with ASD,” said Joe Yurchak, western regional director of the Autism Society of NC. “Funds we raise will allow local children to receive diagnostic services, family respite care, and advocacy to obtain these vital services as early as possible.”

“We hope other businesses will step up and join this exciting community event,” Yurchak added. “We have traditionally had great support from the local business community and we applaud Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures for coming to us with this unique event.”

A video about the event has been produced and can be viewed here: http://vimeo.com/38854053.

The Autism Society was created by parents to increase and improve services to people with autism and their families. The Centers for Disease Control released new statistics in March indicating that the occurrence of some form of autism in the U.S. has increased from one child in 110 to one in 88. For boys in the U.S., the rate is even higher: one in 54.

Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures is part of the Wildwater family of outdoor adventure centers, established in 1971 as the first outfitter in the Southeast. The company offers four other zipline canopy tours as well as whitewater rafting in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky mountains. For more information, visit www.wildwater.info or call (877) 247-5535.

Additional quotes:

Katherine Trexler of Hendersonville, mother of Noah, age 8: “The Autism Society has been invaluable in providing training and support to our family. It has helped us to know that we were not alone with our son’s autism diagnosis. The group provided training so that we would be able to work better with our son and help him get the services he needed. Any time I meet a family with someone who is newly diagnosed, I always give them the number to the Autism Society. I know our son is more successful because of their services.”

Cindy Hallman-Morris of Asheville, parent and high school teacher: “Early intervention and support are the keys to success. My son was diagnosed at four and is now a ninth grader. This is a difficult road to go alone and the services provided here in Western North Carolina have made all the difference in his success. As money has gotten tighter everywhere, the zipline fundraiser is even more important in making sure our local families have the support and services they need.”

Sheena Greiner of Asheville, mother of O’Reilly, age 9, and co-owner of Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures: “These early interventions and diagnostic services were invaluable to our family. We hope others will be able to use these funds to achieve the same success.”

Delise Talley, Western North Carolina Community Bank President with Wells Fargo Bank, title sponsor of the event: “Our support and involvement with Zipping for Autism was a simple decision. We have numerous employee and client families with children that have or will benefit from these resources. There is probably not a business or family in our community that is not somehow touched directly, by a family friend or a customer dealing with ASD. It is a cause well worth the business community’s attention and support.”


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