The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Wahkiakum Autism Walk receives $5,300 donation


April 30, 2020

After the 2nd Annual Wahkiakum Autism Walk was cancelled due to the Covid-19 virus, the organizer’s decided it would be best to wait until next year before attempting any fundraising activities. That is when Beau Renfro, owner of Renfro Ventures and Island Pearls Live and Show Hostess Lisa Johnson Watkins stepped in to save the day.

Born and raised in Cathlamet, Lisa knows many families in the community, including friends who have children on the autism spectrum. It was her passion about helping children with autism which inspired last year’s fundraiser. This marks the second year Beau and Lisa have held a fundraiser on Islands Pearl Live Shows awarding all proceeds to an autism charity.

This year’s massive donation of $5,300 ensures the Wahkiakum School District is even closer to their goal of creating a Sensory Room for students with autism and special needs. Sensory rooms provide a safe place for children with special needs to go to calm or stimulate their senses. The CDC estimate that about 1 in 59 children have been identified with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) by age eight (CDC 2014).

Local parents Paul and Sarah Lawrence started the fundraiser walk last year to help raise awareness and improve the lives of local students. Having a nine-year-old son who is autistic and non-verbal, they have firsthand experience of the challenges facing families with disabled children. Although their son now attends a special school in Longview, they are still committed to raising funds to help improve children’s lives within their community.

Last year’s walk raised enough money to purchase a sensory pathway for J.A. Wendt Elementary as well as a soothing bubble tube and special pressure sensitive multi-colored floor tiles. Looking ahead, this generous donation means a sensory room for Wahkiakum County is now within reach.

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