The Autism Society of West Shore is hosting a golf open fundraiser at GHCG, with all the money raised going to organizations in Ottawa, Muskegon, Allegan and Kent counties.
"The money will go toward therapy, education and equipment for individuals and families with autism," said event organizer Jan Gorbach, whose grandson is autistic. "They rent theaters and turn the lights on, because a child with autism can't go to a theater, or even a restaurant."
The Autism Society West Shore is a volunteer-based organization, with most volunteers having a family member with autism.
Gorbach explained that therapy sessions for autistic children are rarely covered by insurance, and each therapy session costs around $100 — the same cost as to participate in the golf tournament.
"People are starting to realize that autism is an epidemic," Gorbach said. "Years ago, one child in 1,100 was autistic Now it's one in 88, and one in 57 boys. That's really scary. There are a lot of children affected by this, and we still don't know what causes it."
Golf begins with a 10 a.m. shotgun start. Those who don't golf can still participate in the fundraiser. The 19th Hole golf party will take place from 3-5 p.m. A silent auction will be held. Prizes and auction items include opening night Pistons tickets, a kayak, Indy 500 tickets and pit passes, and passes to the Great Wolf Lodge, as well as autographed sports memorabilia.
In addition, Ernie Els has committed to send something in for the auction. The PGA professional golfer and current defending British Open champion has a son with autism.
For more information, call the Autism Society of West Shore at (616) 395-3222.