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Forget “painting the town red”… light it up blue for autism

Dylan Hettinger

Article and photos by Amy Shanahan; photo courtesy of Michelle Hettinger

Canyon Fitness was proud to participate in Light It Up Blue, a global program designed to raise awareness of the one in sixty-eight children affected by autism. The month of April is designated Autism Awareness Month, and businesses, communities, organizations and historic landmarks and buildings throughout the world were lit with blue lights to bring awareness to this cause.

Canyon Fitness owners Kyle and Michelle Hettinger feel passionate about this cause, as their youngest child Dylan was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old. Now eleven, Dylan has succeeded and made wonderful strides, thanks to the tenacity and dedication of his parents. The Hettingers have worked closely with the local public schools to bring more aid to the many children who are diagnosed with autism. Michelle recognized a need for more therapy tools and resources in the schools, and she organized a fundraiser for the cause in conjunction with the Light It Up Blue effort.

Throughout the month of April, Canyon Fitness held events designed to raise funds for this very personal cause. To top it off, on April 30 the gym held a spectacular event complete with wine, live music from The John Saunders Band, food courtesy of A Taste of Mexico, and a wonderful silent auction. Additionally, parts of the gym were lit up blue with black lights. More than 250 gym members, friends, and community supporters came to the event and helped raise $10,000, which was donated directly to local schools in our community.

The highlight of the evening was a presentation by Michelle about her “one in sixty-eight.” A slideshow of the Hettinger family detailed their journey with their son and how his autism has affected them as parents, as well as their older son. The presentation touched many of the viewers with the honesty that portrayed the courage, struggles, and ultimately tremendous love that the family has for each other.

“I feel amazing about the support that we got that night and I can’t wait until next year because I think it’s going to be bigger and better,” remarked Michelle. “It was a really warm feeling that evening and I’m so grateful and proud of the awareness and the money that we raised to give back to our local schools.”

Canyon Fitness owners Kyle and Michelle Hettinger participated in the
national Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue event to raise awareness
of autism – a cause very personal to the Hettingers.



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