Former St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Brad Thompson and his wife Andrea are the honorary chairs of Thursday night’s gala to benefit Columbia’s Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment.
Autism affects one in 54 children in the United States, and Thompson Center executive director Myles Hinkel tells 939 the Eagle that money raised tomorrow night will help reduce the wait list for children. They’re also trying to get more staff to provide life-changing services at Thompson.
“So we’re recruiting additional psychologists, site tech physicians, developmental behavioral pediatricians, so we want to be able to provide the experts that then can provide that care,” Hinkel says.
A growing number of children are impacted by autism. They have challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Mid-Missouri has seen a growing need for autism services, and Mr. Hinkel says the gala will help the center reach more children and families with life-changing services.
“When you combine that with almost one in six children have some sort of developmental delay in general, that’s a gigantic chunk of our population. And so, figuring out how do those individuals need support and how can we support the individual, but also the family as well,” says Hinkel.
Tomorrow night’s event at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac begins at 6 with a reception, followed by dinner at 7. You can bid on auction items and can purchase raffle tickets by visiting amaze.givesmart.com. Live auction items are only available to bid on at the gala and include a Cardinal Luxury Suite package and a Cardinals Legends package with a signed jersey from Yadier Molina and signed baseballs from Albert Pujols and Adam Wainwright.