Live Oak —
For the third straight year organizers have collaborated to bring the Suwannee River Paddle for Autism to Lafayette County. Proceeds from the event will go to the University of Florida Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) for autism services in the Lafayette County area. Greg Valcante is the CARD director.
This year’s 3rd Annual Suwannee River Paddle for Autism will take place on Saturday, April 26, beginning at the Highway 51 Bridge on SR 51 at 9 a.m. Kayakers and canoeists are invited to join the procession of boaters for a 3-4 hour leisurely trip along the beautiful Suwannee River to their final destination at Suwannee River Rendezvous Resort and Campground.
There will be free entertainment at the resort from 1-8 p.m. with Mean Mary and the Saltwater Cowboys on the musical lineup, as well as a $10 raffle donation for a chance to win a grand prize 12 foot handcrafted, custom made kayak from Castle Krafters of Lakeland. Second prize is a YETI Tundra 45 cooler.
Organizer Peggy Grill stopped in at a March meeting of the Lafayette County Commissioners and advised them she began sending out sponsor packages early in February.
“I am interested in wanting the county to help sponsor our 3rd Annual Suwannee River Paddle for Autism,” she told the board. “My husband and I, along with the Suwannee River Rendezvous, in conjunction with CARD are sponsoring the event.”
Grill said that one in every 88 children born today has autism, with 54 percent of them being boys.
“We have 11 students in the county with this disorder,” Grill said. “We’ve raised over $6,000 in the last two years. My goal is $5,000 this year.”
Grill said with a portion of the donated proceeds, two iPads have been bought for students.
“Being a rural, small county, there’s not a lot of things that can help these kids unless somebody steps up, and here I am,” she said. “It’s very passionate to me, due to the fact that I have a 12-year-old nephew with it.”