WWU Students Plan Autism Awareness 5K and Family Festival

tshirt.A 5K run, “bunny hop” runs for children, pictures with the Easter bunny, bounce houses, Easter egg hunt and more are planned for the Autism Awareness 5K and Family Festival, sponsored by the William Woods University senior communications class.

The event will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, April 18, at Stephens Lake Park in Columbia.

The Autism Awareness 5K and Family Festival is a production of the communications senior seminar class, which has been preparing for it all semester. Sixteen graduating students chose autism awareness as their cause to support through fundraisers and events.

All proceeds earned this semester go directly to the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Columbia. This center is dedicated to research and treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder and other related conditions.

Numerous businesses in the Fulton and Columbia areas have also supported the cause by providing bounce houses, prizes and other donations to the event.

Registration for the 5K run/walk will begin at 5 p.m. Participants may also pre-register at http://www.raceit.com/search/event.aspx?id=26078. The race is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

The Easter egg hunt will kick off at 7 p.m., with bounce houses and other activities going throughout the evening. Families will be able to purchase tickets or donate books for the Thompson Center to participate in the festivities.

“I think the 5k and family festival is going to be a great way to raise awareness for autism in the community and for the people it affects,” said Katy Carron, a member of the class. “The ability for people to actually interact and help raise money for the Thompson Center is going to make it stand apart from the events in the past.”

For more information on the Thompson Center, visit http://thompsoncenter.missouri.edu. For more information on the Autism Awareness 5K and Family Festival, email wwuautismawareness@gmail.com.