Families on the Spectrum is gearing up to host its sixth annual fundraiser, Autism Isn’t Black and White Gala. The gala seeks to raise money in support of the work that Families on the Spectrum does throughout the year. They host outings, play dates, & other social events as families – all with the aim of building lifelong connections.

The gala will be held at the Paducah Convention Center, located at 415 Park Street in Paducah. It will be on Saturday, May 11, from 6 - 10:30 pm. This year’s gala will feature a fully catered meal by Neal’s Catering, a silent auction that includes many gift baskets from area businesses and a cash bar. Music will be provided by DJ, Randon Gardner.

To purchase tickets, please visit eventbrite.com. Tickets are on available for $40 per an individual, or $75 for a couple. There are limited available and some of these seats will be reserved for corporate sponsors, so guests are encouraged to book now!

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“This is a chance to dress up and have a great time,” said Molly Kilcoyne, one of the event organizers. “We want you to break out your formal party dresses and suits. To represent the fact that Autism “isn’t” black or white you’re asked to wear your favorite colors this year, and make the event bright!”

Molly Kilcoyne is the proud mother of two children, a boy who is ten and a girl who is seven. Her son, Gavin, was diagnosed with Autism when he was around six-years-old.

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“I knew something wasn’t right with his communication, Kilcoyne explained. “Gavin was practically non-verbal until he was almost eight years old. The hardest thing about having a child on the Spectrum is watching them struggle to do things with their peers. I notice that many things are much harder for him to master. Every mother wants their kids to make friends, play sports, and be invited to the sleep overs. These normal activities, and social milestones come with many challenges for a person with autism. Gavin is a very happy child these days. He loves to be outside riding his bike – it’s his favorite thing.”

iSupportThe Autism Isn’t Black or White Gala always has a terrific silent auction. This year’s items include some great gift baskets and packages: There’s a Yeti cooler, “Outback for a year”, Minor’s baseball box seats, a pair of handmade Adirondack chairs, corn hole boards, a barbecue gas grill donated by Lowes, and lots of gift baskets. The baskets have a theme such as “summer fun kids’ basket”, and “mom makeover basket”.

Last year the money raised at the gala purchased seat belt covers for every child in the group. The seat belt cover had their name embroidered on it and indicated to first responders that the child has autism. The group is currently working on a safety initiative to train first responders such as EMS and police on how to relate and communicate with individuals on the spectrum.

This year’s gala sponsors are Kohl’s (Gold Sponsor), CFSB, G String Bow Strings, Four Rivers Behavioral Health, CLIK, Antlers, Little Caesars’s of Mayfield, The Jeter Group – Keller Williams Realty, Sensory Solutions, H & R Agripower, Atmos Energy, Wacker Chemical Corp., Bloom Behavioral Therapy, and Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 184 Paducah

Families on the Spectrum (FOTS)

iSupportWe’re fortunate to have a nonprofit organization in the area that help and supports families of those with a diagnosis of ASD. Families on the Spectrum is a nonprofit organization based in Paducah that seeks to bring awareness of autism to others, and to unite autism families together to form successfully communities and support systems. They serve a 50-mile radius around the Paducah area. The organization has quarterly meetings every year that serve as support groups for parents.

If you have a family member who has Autism or has been diagnosed with ASD, Families on the Spectrum, would like to hear from you. Please visit familiesonthespectrumky.org.

For our parents, we have a private group where we provide more personal autism information, ask questions, and share stories. If you would like to be a part of the group, please search Families on the Spectrum PRIVATE GROUP and request to join. Also on Pinterest: pinterest.com/fotsky and on Twitter: @FOTspectrum