Mystery evening sets $7,500 goal to assist children with autism

March 16, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh

In 2016, Deanna Avison, a Shelburne grandmother of twins with autism, was driven by love to be “a voice” for children who face the challenges of living on the spectrum. She spearheaded “Hearts Wide Open for Autism” a Murder Mystery & Dinner evening that raised $5,200 for the Upper Grand Learning Foundation.

Now, Ms. Avison is hoping to up that amount to $7500 this year, and has joined forces once again with Megan Young of the Shelburne Golf and Country Club.  On Saturday, April 1st, guests will enjoy a delicious dinner, browse Silent Auction tables, and enjoy ‘Murder for Hire,” an interactive performance company out of Kitchener-Waterloo, returning this year to present A Fright to Remember as the evening’s entertainment. Tickets are $100 each or a table of eight for $700.

Ms. Avison says a substantial number of children in the community with Autism and other special needs will benefit from the funds raised through this event. “It helps supply essential tools and other necessary items the children need to help them through their day at school,” she says. “With our growing community, the number of children with special needs is only going to increase.”

The mysterious theatrics take place among the guests over the course of a meal. “There may be a murderer amongst the guests,” the company says, “perhaps even a victim or two.” Guests also have the opportunity to participate in some interactive aspects of the event, if they wish.

The evening will begin with cocktails and a silent auction at 6 p.m., followed by a delicious chicken dinner and the Murder Mystery at 7:00, and finishes with music by DJ Master Mix with Michael Roberts. A shuttle bus, graciously donated by Stock Transportation, will pick up patrons at 5:30 p.m. at the Centre Dufferin Recreation Complex (Shelburne arena) with drop-off times back to the CDRC at 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. for those who wish to stay for the music after the mystery.

“Again this year we have amazing sponsors,” Ms. Avison said, including: Greg Patton of GP Carpentry; Shelburne Royal Bank; Stock Transportation; Chris Reed of IPRO Realty who is a generous sponsor of the theatre performance; and photography sponsored by Lana Pullen Photography.

Ms. Avison says she personally viewed purchases from last year’s fund-raising efforts and was amazed at the number of items the money provided for the children. “It touched my heart so much to see what the community helped do,” says Ms. Avison “and the difference we made for children to have the necessary tools they need in order to help them through their day at school.”

If you would like to support the cause or buy tickets, visit their facebook page: OpenforAutism, or call Deanna Avison at 519-925-9326 or Megan Young at 519-925-5581.

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