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Asheville Citizen-Times: Zipping for Autism Fundraiser in Asheville

Asheville Citizen-Times: Zipping for Autism Fundraiser in Asheville

Zipping for Autism Fundraiser in Asheville
by Karen Chavez
Asheville Citizen-Times
April 15, 2013

It was a little terrifying and made her tummy turn flips, but Donna Gilsdorf is already getting excited to go ziplining again this year, to see the bellyaching views of the Asheville skyline while also helping children with autism.

Last year, Gilsdorf, her husband, Greg, and eight other friends and family members formed a team for the inaugural Zipping for Autism event at Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures. While hanging by just some nylon straps and a carabiner 50 feet in the air and soaring through towering tulip poplars over the Crowne Plaza Resort’s old golf course didn’t at first sound like fun, Donna Gilsdorf said it was ultimately “exhilarating.”

She and her team will take on the challenge again June 2 for the second annual Wells Fargo Zipping for Autism event, a fundraiser for the Autism Society of North Carolina. As a member of the organizing committee, Gilsdorf wants people to start forming their teams now, since April is Autism Awareness Month.

“Our son Luke is on the autism spectrum, so this is a cause very near and dear to our heart. We had a passion for being involved,” said Gilsdorf, who lives in Mills River.

“I’m not someone who normally goes zipping. I am scared of heights, so if I can go ziplining, anyone can do it. It’s safe, and it’s fun to do with your family. Mark it off your bucket list and help the community at the same time.”

Zipping for Autism is the creation of Jeff and Sheena Greiner, owners of the canopy adventures, who wanted to give back to the Autism Society, which has served their 10-year-old son, O’Reilly, who is on the autism spectrum.

All proceeds raised by individuals and teams will go to the Autism Society of North Carolina to offer respite, increase advocacy and services, and to assist families in the region.

“The money we raise is important because there is not enough funding for services to meet the needs of children in our area. There is an increase in prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in our state,” said Sheena Greiner.