World Autism Awareness Weekend
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World Autism Awareness Weekend

CoolDudesDiving's Brad Butler was out taking photos at the Blockade Runner beach resort early Thursday morning. Surfers Healing is hosting an event at Wrightsville Beach today thru Sunday celebrating World Autism Awareness Weekend. The Blockade Runner will host families affected by autism, while Hook Line & Paddle and Indo-Jax surf school hold water-safety lessons and other activities. Land Rover Cape Fear and Two Guys Grille will provide refreshments. WECT and WSFX covered the lead-up to the event this morning.

The photo album can be viewed here.


Press Release from

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC . . . As many as 50,000 to 60,000 North Carolina families are impacted by children with some form of autism. These families are invited to Wrightsville Beach, April 1-3, to join us for World Autism Awareness Weekend.

On World Autism Awareness Day, Saturday, April 2, all are invited to experience a day of hands-on kids' activities, networking and fellowship at Wrightsville Beach Park presented by Surfers Healing. On Sunday, April 3, families are invited to relax and enjoy beach and lawn games at the host hotel, the Blockade Runner Beach Resort.  All games Saturday and Sunday are free.  A mid-day seaside cookout on Sunday will be available at the Blockade Runner.

Organizer and Surfers Healing North Carolina Camp Director, John Pike has promised lots of fun for the families of children with autism.


This year's Hawaiian theme will feature live, ukulele music on Saturday with hula dancing as Pike and others sport Hawaiian print shirts. Meet Pike and his 7-year old autistic son, Gianni, and other families on a day when autism rules without exceptions.


All booths will feature kid stuff like board waxing, a miniature skate park for kids, face painting, a bounce house, fishing, sensory toys, calming toys, corn toss, refreshments and more. Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue lifeguards will lead special water safety instruction.


Information will be shared by autism awareness agencies and other support groups like:

Autism Society of North Carolina, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Brunswick counties,, Family Support Network, NC Chapter of Surfers Healing
Ocean Cure, S.H.A.R.E., Surfrider Foundation, TEACCH, Wilmington Children's Developmental Services Agency and ECAC, Exceptional Children's Assistance Center.

Saturday refreshments will be provided by Land Rover Cape Fear and Two Guys Grille.

Pike urges the Hispanic community to come as bi-lingual information will be provided. Surfers spend much time in Central American nations and appreciate the warm hospitality of the people. Surfers Healing wants to extend a special invitation to the Hispanic community. Also, people without children are encouraged to attend and learn more about autism.

The goal is to create a weekend of outreach, inclusion, awareness and festivities for the children, networking opportunities for parents and group outreach to share ideas and resources. World Autism Awareness Day was created by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2007.


CoolDudesDiving was founded in 2010 by three people with a dream. And very little spare time to chase that dream. Today, we're on our way to fulfilling that dream once and for all!