AWAKE Autism Awareness

Autism Awareness: Conyers coffee house hosts walk fundraiser for local family

CONYERS — The Rodgers family in Conyers is trying to purchase a dog — not just any dog, a $6,500 dog.

In a conversation at the AWAKE Coffee Community in Olde Town, Mary Rodgers said that her son, Camron, has autism and needs a service dog to help him in many ways.

“The dog will help him with the anxiety. And Camron wanders off. If he goes to wandering, the dog will ground him,” Rodgers said.

“One big thing with Camron is he can go out and not have a sense of danger,” she added. “He’ll just cross a street without looking. If the dog pauses, he’ll sense it and wait to cross.”

Because the purchase price is steep, AWAKE Coffee Community has stepped in to help the Rodgers. AWAKE will hold an Autism Awareness Walk next month to raise funds for the family to acquire a dog.

The Autism Walk will be held on Saturday, April 16, at Wheeler Park on Parker Road in Conyers. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. and the walk will begin at 9 a.m. at the park pavilion. Participants can visit to preregister.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children under 16. All profits will go directly to the Rodgers family.

Food and games will be provided at the event.

“Our goal is to raise autism awareness while also supporting a local family,” said Holly Hamelin, the community supports project manager for AWAKE Coffee.

Rodgers said her son was diagnosed with autism at age 4, and has suffered seizures until the medication was successfully adjusted about 18 months ago.

Noelle Cosby, co-founder of AWAKE with her husband, Jason Cosby, said that the Rodgers’ insurance company will not pay for the service dog because Camron, age 17, is past the age limit.

“There is a huge spectrum of autism. Sometimes children are misdiagnosed until they get older,” said Cosby, who recalled being misdiagnosed when she was a child.

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