LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Southwest Louisiana rallied Saturday morning to raise awareness for autism. Folks got up early for the second annual "Joining Hands For Autism" 5-k run and one mile fun walk.
The proceeds benefit three organizations in Southwest Louisiana that help children and adults with autism as well as their families:
St. Nicholas Center: Helps autistic children.
Southwest Autism Chapter Autism Society of America: Provides services to people with autism and lets their families know about resources available.
Autism Services of Southwest Louisiana: Provides housing for adults with autism.
"This is only our second year to do the event so we are very excited. It is bringing together people that we've known over the years. I've been in it for 40 years and seeing friends that we've had though the years like this is awesome," said Geri Landry, Autism Services of SWLA President.
According to the Centers for Disease Control 1 in 88 children will be born with some sort of autism. For Vonnie Jones whose son Jett was diagnosed at 22 months old - it feels good to come together with others who can relate.
"I didn't know much about autism and it was a roller coaster of emotions. Because at first you are like oh your child but then you just accept it and try to fix it. To see all these people come together it's heart touching. When you're first diagnosed you think why has this happened to me or my child or anything like that and you realize there are a lot of families affected," said Jones.