Richie’s Alliance for Autism held three days of events April 9 -11, raising the highest total of funds in its three-year history. On April 30, the alliance was able to donate $40,000 to The Olson Huff Center, a division of Mission Children’s Hospital, and $17,000 to the Haywood County Schools Foundation Exceptional Children’s Program. Both amounts are a considerable increase over last year’s donations.

Every year, Autism organizations around the world celebrate the month of April with fundraising and awareness-raising events.Richie Perrone was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in 2009. The alliance was founded by Richie’s parents, Louis and Debra Perrone, of Maggie Valley, to raise funds and awareness for ASD.

“It’s wonderful to be a part of a community that will pull together its resources to help children like our son,” said Louis Perrone. “The funds raised will help local families understand and live with Autism.”

Richie’s Alliance believes, “We can all make a difference,” and is grateful for the community support the past three years.

This year’s events included the Casino Royale Autism Awareness Golf Tournament at Maggie Valley Club; a Richie’s Alliance Dine Out/Shop Out Day, supported by numerous Haywood County merchants; and the Richie’s Alliance for Autism ‘Taste’ event at Maggie Valley Club, featuring WNC top chefs, wineries and breweries.

At ‘Taste,’ attendees enjoyed a live auction, with auctioneer Allen Brasington, heard Dr. Susan Mims describe the work of the Olson Huff Center, and received thanks from Brandi Stephenson, representing the Haywood County Schools Foundation’s Exceptional Children’s Program. Attendees were delighted to hear a speech from Richie Perrone, the guest of honor, and all joined in singing Happy Birthday to Richie.

For more information on Richie’s Alliance for Autism, visit www.richiesalliance.org.