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What started as 11-year-old Michala Riggle’s $7.35 fund for autism research has recently turned into a national phenomenon.
After experimental treatment helped Michala’s autistic brother Evan, she wanted to help other children by funding research at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville. Michala’s initial donation, earned by beading and selling bracelets, was multiplied again and again by volunteers energized by her hard work and “You’ve Gotta Believe” motto. Those volunteers, affectionately called, “Michala’s peeps,” beaded thousands of bracelets to sell at local art shows and other community events. Through sales and private donations, Michala has raised over $260,000 for an autism research study to be conducted at Kosair Children’s Hospital by physicians from the University of Louisville School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics. Michala’s story has appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and Good Morning America and has had an article published in the January 2008 issue of Kentucky Monthly magazine.
On July 15, Hardin County 4-H sponsored a “Beading Party” for Michala with over 28 4-Hers, volunteers, and community partners present to help bead bracelets. The group made 78 bracelets within two-hours! The bracelets are sold for $3 each and all proceeds go to the autism research study mentioned earlier.
Michala’s new goal is to raise enough money to build an autism research and treatment center in Louisville to help autistic children like her brother Evan.
Please send donations to:
Grayson County Beading to Beat Autism
P.O. Box 594
Leitchfield, KY 42755
Michala Riggle Autism Research & Treatment Fund
Kosair Children’s Hospital Foundation, Dept. 86140
P.O. Box 950183
Louisville, KY 40295
For more information on Michala’s project, go to www.helpkosairchildrenshospital.com. For info about sponsoring a beading party, please contact Robin Atkins at 270-242-9427, Cyndi Frank at 270-259-6349 or Ernestine Harp at 270-259-4818.
For more information about 4-H youth development programs in Hardin County, contact the Hardin County Cooperative Extension Service at 270-765-4121 or view their website http://ces.ca.uky.edu/hardin.