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Annual Angel For Autism Event To Celebrate 10 Years At This Year’s Nashville Fall Festival

A longstanding event returns this fall to help local children who are diagnosed with autism.

The Angel For Autism 5K/10K Run/Walk will be held on Saturday, September 28. The race will start at the Community Center of Nashville, 455 S. Washington, beginning at 8 a.m. Registration and packet pickup starts at 6:30 a.m.

Angel for Autism was created in 2009 after the tragic death of Traci Storey in 2008.

Angel for Autism works to raise funds to help create sensory rooms for schools and therapists to use to help children with autism as well as other mood or behavior disorders. Students in schools can use rooms to help with early childhood, Autism, other diagnosed mood or behavior issues as well as many other reasons. Nashville’s sensory room is used by school therapists, teachers, Occupational therapy, speech therapy and early childhood intervention specialists.

Over the 10 years that Angel for Autism has been working to raise funds through the annual 5k/10k that coincides with the fall festival, We have created 11 sensory rooms in 7 school districts, replaced items for a special education district impacted by flooding, created sensory boxes for the schools in Washington County, purchased other needed materials as requested by different schools or therapists.

For schools interested in receiving items or starting a sensory room we ask they reach out to us identifying their needs and requests. We then meet with them to review the space they have available as well the items they are requesting and discuss the students or patients they are working with. Our therapists work with the school to establish the best materials to help the most students. Each room we start costs approximately $5,000.

According to the CDC, one in 59 children were diagnosed with austism spectrum disorder in 2018. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls, and most  continue to be diagnosed after the age of 4 years old. Doctors say that autism can be reasonably diagnosed as early as 2 years old.

Experts also believe that early diagnosis helps the skills needed to reach full potential can be taught when brain plasticity is much more pronounced and intervention can be much more comprehensive.

Angel for Autism would not be able to continue with our sensory room, maintain the rooms we have created or create new rooms without the continued support from the community. Over the last 10 years we have had a number of continued supporters as well as new supporters. Each and every individual, group or business that has donated along the way has made a lasting impact in the lives of many.

“ We have been able to do more than we have ever imagined,” said Heather Maschhoff, fundraising organizer. “It’s because we have a really great community support here.”

Prizes will be awarded to the overall top three male and top three female 10K participants as well as for the top three male and female overall in the 5K event and top three male and female finishers in certain age groups.

The top three male and female walkers in the 5K, and registered participants under the age for 10 in the 1/2 mile walk/run will receive a finisher’s medal.

While Traci was taken way to soon there is peace in knowing her memory lives on in helping others.

As the event celebrates its first decade, Maschhoff said the districts have been able to see progress in the pupils who benefit from the sensory rooms.

“The kids who first started in our first sensory room have now grown up, and they can come back and see what we’ve done,” she said. “It’s amazing to see all that.”

As the organizers say, “life really is a sweet ‘Storey.’”

Registration may completed online at or by mailing a form to Angel For Autism, 8435 Geisel Lane, Nashville, 62263.

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