Autism awareness events are being organized locally by resident Callie Durham, the reigning Miss Middle Tennessee Blue Raider. Durham is spearheading three upcoming activities promoting her Miss Tennessee platform, Autism Awareness and Research.
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
“I am organizing these events in hopes of raising awareness of the disorder and to promote research for autism, which affects 1 in 110 youth,” said Durham.
The first event is “Light It Up Blue Campaign,” where she will be changing the lighting to blue at the courthouse and on the Warren County Bicentennial monument on April 1. She is hoping to talk officials into turning the water blue in the downtown fountain, on that same day, which just happens to be April Fool’s Day.
Durham is also encouraging downtown businesses to either add blue lighting to their store fronts or do a blue window display to help the cause. Other businesses and offices are also needed to spread the word, and are welcome to jump on the blue bandwagon.
“I encourage all the businesses downtown and all over Warren County to get involved and ‘Light It Up Blue’ for autism awareness,” said Durham.
She and her Queens for a Cause team are also planning a bake sale to be held at the Spring Into Wellness Fair on April 9 at Three Star Mall from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Delicious homemade goodies will be available, as well as T-shirts for purchase.
A 5K run/walk will be taking place in downtown Morrison on April 16. Registration will be from 7 a.m. until 8:30 a.m., with the walk beginning at 9 a.m. Participants may pre-register at the Queens for a Cause booth at the wellness fair on April 9. Registration forms are also available at the Warren County Trustee office at 201 Locust St. Pre-registration is $25 through April 9, and $30 the day of the walk. Each participant will receive a free shirt for their efforts.
Durham notes some facts about autism, one in 70 boys are affected, and a new case is diagnosed every two minutes. She also stresses there is no medical detection or cure for autism, and feels a great need to educate the public about the disorder.