Planning underway for Autism AwareNESS dance-a-thon at Eastlake school

Jan. 24—Organizers of the 13th annual Autism AwareNESS dance-a-thon at Eastlake Middle School are seeking donations.

To mark Autism Awareness Month, this year's 12-hour dance marathon will take place on April 20.

Last year, over 100 students in sixth through eighth grades committed to dance and stand on their feet from noon until midnight, without any breaks to sit down and rest, while learning more about autism, according to a news release.

Each student raises $75 or more in sponsorships to be a part of this event, and all proceeds go toward local autism initiatives, the release stated.

Adapted from Penn State's "Thon," which raises money to fight pediatric cancer, "NESS" was started in 2010 to create awareness of the prevalence of autism, while raising money to help fund academic and leisure opportunities and programming to support autistic individuals.

Growing since its inception, the Autism AwareNESS dance-a-thon has raised over $143,000 for autism research and programming, the release stated.

During the dance-a-thon, every hour will be kicked off with a line dance choreographed by school staff and a song written and produced by the staff. Additionally, family members of individuals with autism will share their stories with the students and community, as well as other awareness activities that will help students to understand things from a different perspective.

Donations will be accepted at the door. Also, donations for the Annual Autism AwareNESS Dance can be dropped off between 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or mailed to Eastlake Middle School, 35972 Lakeshore Blvd., Eastlake OH 44095. A pick-up can also be arranged.

For monetary donations, make checks payable to Eastlake Middle School and note in the memo "NESS Committee."

For more information, contact Angela Minichello of Eastlake Middle School at angela.minichello@weschools.org or 440-942-5696.