West Virginia Autism Education Center gears up for Saturday night fundraiser

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Autism Training Center, located at Marshall University, will host a virtual fundraising event Saturday night in hopes of raising money for a special cause.

The second annual virtual event, titled “Spectrum Stories: Building for the Future”, is scheduled from 7-8:30 p.m. and funds raised will help expand the college program for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders at Marshall University.

Dr. Marc Ellison, executive director of the West Virginia Autism Training Center (WVATC), said the program supports 60 students per semester. He said they have the capacity to support twice as many students with autism, but they don’t have the space.

Marc Ellison

“For over thirty years we have performed services throughout the state. We do a lot of good work and I hope people tune in to hear this good work. Also support us, we really appreciate and appreciate your support,” Ellison said.

The WVATC has been located atop Old Main in Marshall since 1984, Ellison said, with just five desks in use. Ellison said estimates for a building renovation for the center were around $5 million. He hopes to raise funds over several years.

The event features inspiring stories, unique auction items and special guest appearances. Items include a signed Mike Tyson boxing glove, a signed Pete Rose baseball, a signed soccer ball from the Marshall Men’s National Championship football team, and race tickets to Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Dr. Ruth Sullivan Autism Champion Award will be presented to Dr. Barbara Becker-Cottrill to honor her career dedicated to supporting those diagnosed with autism and their families. Becker-Cottrill is the center’s former executive director, and Ellison said that over a 25-year period, she transformed education and direct services for families with autism.

Those interested in attending the virtual event can register and/or donate at this link: https://e.givesmart.com/events/nL6/

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