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Contest results could help fund autism awareness

Contest results could help fund autism awareness

Sunny Hammonds Hall of Knoxville, daughter of Russ and Diane Hammonds of Union City, has a mission to help parents who have children with autism.
She has a chance to win $10,000 for her Web site, www.thefacesofautism.com, from Advanta Corp. through its monthly contest at ideablob.com.
Mrs. Hall is competing against seven other people who hope to win the February contest and she needs the help of people right here in Obion County.
The contest ends this Thursday. She said those who wish to participate must register first and then cast their votes at IdeaBlob.com — the link for her page is http://www.ideablob.com/ideas/1290-The-Faces-of-Autism-Website.
Launched by Advanta in September 2007, ideablob.com is where small businesses and entrepreneurs can share, compare and grow their business ideas — and have a chance to win $10,000 toward fulfilling them. The finalists include the top two winners from each of the first three weeks of February, as voted on by the ideablob.com community. In addition, the finalists include two contestants who received the most votes overall from the community since the ideablob.com contest began. The finalists include Mrs. Hall and Noah Curran, Janice Dotti, Erin Ely, Aaron Fleishman, Megan Lopez, Ryan McIntyre and Gunter Pfau.
“Seven of the eight finalists this month are social entrepreneurs,” said Ami Kassar, Advanta’s Chief Innovation Officer. “It’s heartwarming to see so many entrepreneurs and small businesses coming up with these inspirational ideas to change the world and using ideablob as springboard to grow their ideas.”
Mrs. Hall said one in 150 children today has autism. Of those, one in 66 are boys.
“Those numbers are staggering, but just what does one in 150 look like? Who are the faces behind the numbers? WWW.TheFacesofAutism.com is designed for parents to tell their child’s story. Parents will get the opportunity to upload a headshot photo of their child, and fill out basic information about their child’s diagnosis, symptoms, treatment plan, etc. This Web site will give faces to those nameless numbers. TheFacesofAutism.com will make these children impossible to ignore,” she said.
In addition, there will be resources posted, definitions of diagnoses, links to support groups, treatment options, warning signs for autism and much more.
“We hope to have a community forum where parents can chat and support one another. All of these things will make this site helpful to all parents,” she said.
Mrs. Hall, a stay-at-home mom, said two of her three triplets were recently diagnosed with PDD-NOS, which is on the autistic spectrum.
“For any parent, this is devastating news. We have been fortunate to have the support of friends and family, and our faith to help us move forward, but day to day living is still very challenging. When I considered our struggles, and realized that millions of Americans are fighting the very same battles that we are every day — many of them much harder than ours, I felt compelled to do something. Autism is the Goliath of our children’s generation, and some one needs to start thowing some stones. This is my way of stepping up and doing just that.”
The other finalists include:
• Curran, 20, Belmont University, Nashville
Curran hopes to grow his popular Web-based charity called T.A.G. — Turning Actions into Good (www.YouCanTag.com). His idea can be found at http://www.ideablob.com/ideas/1459-Web-Based-Charity-T-A-G-Turni.
• Ms. Dotti, 21, Belmont University, Nashville/Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas
Ms. Dotti plans to open Roots Fair Trade Organic Coffeehouse in her Texas hometown sponsoring social justice causes. Her idea can be found at http://www.ideablob.com/ideas/1462-Fair-Trade-Organic-Coffeehouse.
• Ms. Ely, 52, Eugene, Ore.
A professional volunteer, Ms. Ely, founder of Ely Organics (http://elyorganics.com), hopes to start a permanent indoor farmers market in Eugene.
Her idea can be found at http://www.ideablob.com/ideas/894-Permanent-Indoor-Farmers-Market.
• Fleishman, 23, Penn State University, State College, Pa.
A chemical engineering student, Fleishman’s idea started as a class project that he’s turned into reality. Mashavu is a laptop-based system that enables children in the developing world to connect with doctors anywhere using existing cell-phone infrastructure. His idea can be found at http://www.ideablob.com/ideas/1528-Mashavu-Networked-Health-Solu.
• Ms. Lopez, 20, Belmont University, Nashville
Ms. Lopez, a professional nanny, has started Organic Baby to educate and change the way parents raise their children. Her idea can be found at http://www.ideablob.com/ideas/1566-Organic-Baby-Changing-the-way-p.
• McIntyre, 32, Chicago
McIntyre, owner of MedBed (www.beds4meds.com), and has come up with a way to economically reduce the environmental impact of apartment buildings.
His idea can be found at http://www.ideablob.com/ideas/285-Economically-Reduce-the-Environ.
• Pfau, 30, Philadelphia
A social media expert, Pfau plans to expand his interactive agency, Stuzo (www.stuzo.com) specializing in the development of Facebook applications and other viral social media. His idea can be found at http://www.ideablob.com/ideas/946-Stuzo-social-media-applicatio.
Published in The Messenger 2.27.08

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