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Fortville bike benefit helps families living with autism

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Cyclists take part in last year's Answers for Autism Bike Ride. (File photo)
Cyclists take part in last year's Answers for Autism Bike Ride. (File photo)

FORTVILLE –— For its second year, the Answers for Autism Bike Ride in Fortville will have even more to do for participants as they raise funds for a grant program that awards money to Indiana nonprofit groups.

The ride is set to begin the morning of Saturday, July 19. The event will include a 40-mile, 20-mile and a one-mile family- friendly ride starting at the Fortville Church of the Nazarene at 701 S. Maple St. Registration will begin at 6 a.m., and the ride begins at 8 a.m.

“Come prepared to enjoy an easy ride and help us raise funds for autism,” event organizer Patty Reed said.

Last year’s event, the first one in Fortville, had close to 100 participants and raised nearly $8,000.

The ride benefits Answers for Autism, an all-volunteer organization founded and led by parents of children on the autism spectrum. The group is dedicated to creating a community where individuals with autism are able to participate in and contribute without fear of bias or loss of individuality. That goal is pursued through the group’s Answers for Autism Grant Program.

Proceeds from the Answers for Autism Bike Ride and other events fund the Answers for Autism Grant Program, which awards grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the state in areas of education, recreation and safety. Some of the programs that have been supported by Answers for Autism grants include camp scholarships, iPads for learning or communication, therapeutic riding, national speakers, training for first responders and equipment for Project Life Saver.

The grant program is funded through donations and sponsorships of various events through the year, including the Fortville bike ride. Since 2001, the organization has distributed more than $600,000 to non-profit autism programs throughout Indiana, and $200,000 has been donated to national autism research.

This year’s Answers for Autism Bike Ride is set to have more events during and after the ride for participants to enjoy, according to Reed.

“We’re going to have a DJ this year and free chair massages to the riders and participants. We’re hoping to have more of a party atmosphere so the riders can stay afterward and hang out,” she said.

The Colts in Motion trailer will be at the event to provide activities, and Gigi’s Cupcakes will provide treats after the long ride. Light refreshments will be provided to participants at no cost throughout the ride. There will also be food available for purchase and a raffle and gift bags.

Participants who wish to register ahead of time can do so on the web at www.2014answersforautismbikeride.kintera.org. Registration is also available on the day of the event.

The cost of registration per individual is $35 for the 20- and 40-mile ride and $10 for the Family Friendly ride. T-shirts will be available for $15. Each individual who raises $100 or more will receive an official Answers for Autism Bike Ride T-shirt on ride day while supplies last. Additional information is available online at www.answersautism.org.

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