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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Helgesen

Many Thank-Yous and Some New News

On Tuesday, August 16th 2022 our friend Gene Burgess was involved in a car accident that resulted in serious injuries requiring emergency surgery for a fractured femur and total hip replacement. Our community of friends rallied and provided him with support via our Go Fund Me which has helped tremendously during Gene's recovery. Lisa Robbins and Mike Smalley went above and beyond as they opened their home to Gene and provided the attention and care he needed during his recuperation. Those two truly have hearts of gold!!

Speaking of hearts of gold...Lisa was also the inspiration behind our "All-In to Beat Cancer" fundraiser in September. She wanted to honor a dear friend of hers and do something good for others along the way. A HUGE amount of gratitude goes out to Lisa for all of her efforts in making this event a success! We were able to make a donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and provide some financial support to Lisa's friend as well. Thank you to everyone who joined us for this special event.

September also found us focusing on a birthday wish or two. We came across the story of Austin, a youngster on the spectrum who needed a reminder that people care. Once again, our ACES community stepped up and helped make Austin's birthday one he will never forget! We visited Austin and his family to drop off the gifts you all donated and enjoyed the huge smile and gratitude first hand. Thank you to everyone who helped make this such a memorable day for the birthday boy!

In other news, the ACES BARKery is relocating. Sadly, our partnership at New Directions for Autism ended when the program was unable to remain open due to staffing issues. The building quickly sold and we are looking for a new home base (hopefully a retail location). So...for the moment, we currently have one AMAZING baker (#JakeBakes)very happily filling your online orders and working toward our mission. Proceeds from our dog treat sales will continue to be reinvested into our efforts to provide meaningful opportunities for autistic adults in our community to live fulfilling, joyful lives while flourishing in a safe and secure environment. In my experience, each setback has just led to growth! Even better opportunities are just around the corner!

But, the GOOD NEWS is that we are excited to have our ACES BARKery become a Silver Sponsor for the Georgia Race for Autism and Fall Festival scheduled for October 1st. The event will be held at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds and we'll be there (inside) rain or shine at our vendor table! Check out for more information. We are so proud to help make a difference for individuals and families impacted by autism!

They say that "Giving is not just about making a donation. It's about making a difference." As always, we thank you all for your generosity. By supporting our efforts through direct donations or by participating in one of our fundraising events, you allow us to make a positive impact within the autism community. YOU are making a difference!

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