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AmeriCarna LIVE Car Show

More than 5,000 people enjoyed the fourth annual AmeriCarna LIVE car show in Davidson in November with host Ray Evernham, legendary NASCAR championship crew chief and team owner. They came to see nearly 600 cars from celebrities – including NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Joey Logano – and proud collectors. The show and a gala the night before raised more than $125,000 to benefit IGNITE, a program operated by ASNC for young adults with highfunctioning autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Two generous sponsors, MSC Industrial Supply Co. and Autogeek.com, each donated $15,000 during the car show. IGNITE offers activities, skills training, and educational workshops that foster social, financial, educational, and employment independence for members. More importantly, IGNITE offers a social environment where members can connect with others and experience a sense of community. Evernham, who has a son on the spectrum, said he hopes AmeriCarna LIVE will continue to grow. “This is an incredible place of love and unselfishness every year,” he said. g

Chipping in for Autism

UNC sophomore Austin Ludwig is determined to spread understanding for people with autism. His little brother Mason, who is 10 and lives in Holly Springs, was diagnosed when he was 2 years old and is nonverbal. “He is my motivation for a lot of things I do,” Austin said. “He’s an incredible kid, super happy all the time.” As part of his mission, Austin has held golf tournaments in the Triangle the past two years, raising almost $10,000. Last year, the business administration major and some of his Sigma Chi fraternity brothers tapped into their connections to recruit corporate sponsors and more than 50 golfers. At the event, the Autism Research Registry provided information, and artist DJ Svoboda spoke about his struggles, encouraging attendees to be empathetic to those who are different. “He had grown men in tears,” Austin said. In addition to supporting the work of ASNC, Austin donated some of his proceeds to his brother’s school, Lincoln Heights Elementary, to launch a peer program. Eventually, he would like to create a broader education initiative to expose young children to autism. “Anybody who works with kids with autism will definitely get something out of it,” he said. “A lot of people just really don’t have experience with it. Different is not a bad thing.” Austin is now planning his third annual tournament to be held in May. For more information on participating, becoming a sponsor, or volunteering, contact him at austwig@live.unc.edu. g

28 • The Spectrum, Winter 2017

“Anybody who works with kids with autism will definitely get something out of it.”

Profile for Autism Society of North Carolina

Spectrum Winter 2017  

Spectrum Winter 2017  

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