For the 13th straight year the Ride for Autism ended at Biker Bob’s Harley Davidson in Taylor MI.
The annual motorcycle run is the largest fundraiser for the charity, which puts on several events throughout the year for the families of Autistic children and adults.
Sal Ferra and Pete Joseph, who worked with the parent of an autistic child, founded the event. The first year, there were about 50 bikers involved and they raised more than $8,000.
This year there were several hundred bikes in the run, an estimate of how much was raised wasn’t immediately available.
In subsequent years, the ride has grown exponentially. It now brings in hundreds of riders each year and has raised more than $100,000 since it started.
Rachael Adams, the charity’s ambassador, is a former Lincoln Park resident and a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
The celebration at Biker Bob’s included entertainment, food and raffles. All of the money raised goes to help the “now” according the Adams. She said rather than donating to research like many other charities, they use the money to help families have safe places to go and put on parties for those on the spectrum. They host an Easter and a Christmas party each year, as well as an event called “Apples and Autism” in the fall at an apple orchard.
Other money is used to help support the Macomb and St. Clair County Autism Society of America and Autism Connections of the Judson Center in Royal Oak.
Autism is a complex spectrum of disabilities that typically appears during the first three years of life. The result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, autism and its associated behaviors have been estimated to occur in one in 110 individuals and is more common than Down syndrome.