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Press Release

Contact: Tessa Konen
Phone: 316.634.8812

Email: tkonen@heartspring.org

For Immediate Release

2014/04/23

Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer joins Heartspring at the Autism CARE Walk

WICHITA, Kan. – More than 3,700 autism ambassadors will join Lieutenant Governor, Jeff Colyer, on Saturday at the 7th annual Autism CARE Walk to take steps toward greater autism awareness. The Autism CARE Walk, which supports Heartspring’s Community of Autism Resources and Education (CARE) Program, is seeing record-breaking registration numbers this year.

“I would attribute the registration numbers to the prevalence of autism. Every 1 in 68 children are now diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and the need for raising funds and awareness for this diagnosis is greater now, more than ever before,” said Heartspring Marketing and Events Coordinator, Tessa Konen. “In 2012, we had 800 walkers, last year we had 2,500 and now we are closing in on 4,000. Our community is developing into a model for autism awareness and education. This walk will continue to emphasize the needs for individuals impacted by autism.”

Last week, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill mandating some health coverage for autism. The law will require group health plans for companies with 51 or more employees to provide coverage for services for children under 12, starting next year. Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer will be presenting a ceremonial copy of the bill at 9:45AM at the 7th annual Autism CARE Walk on Saturday.

“Signing into law a bill to expand health insurance coverage for individuals with autism is a long sought after first step in providing increased early intervention services for families in Kansas. Ideally, designating autism treatment in 2015 as an essential benefit under the federal health care law would allow states to expand coverage mandates, allowing even more families to benefit from desperately needed services and therapies,” said Director of Heartspring’s CARE Program, Connie Erbert.

After the 1.4 mile walk, the 7th annual Autism CARE Walk event, held Downtown at WaterWalk, will host a raffle-style silent auction, live music by Haywired, autographs by Wichita State Women’s Basketball Team, sponsor and vendor booths, face painting, local food truck vendors, and an award ceremony.

To register or donate to the 7th annual Autism CARE Walk, please visit www.autismcarewalk.org.

Heartspring is a worldwide center for children with special needs. Our residential school, outpatient pediatric services, and the Community of Autism Resources and Education (CARE) Program aim to help children of all ages succeed by gaining the skills necessary for a more independent lifestyle. For more information, please visit www.heartspring.org or contact marketing@heartspring.org.

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