Light it up: Wolfville man raising money, awareness for autism

Wendy Elliott welliott@kingscountynews.ca
Published on March 28, 2016

Harrison Czapalay, a familiar figure in cowboy attire, will be marking World Autism Day in Wolfville’s Clock Park on April 2.

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WOLFVILLE - A young man has knocked on every door along  Main Street this month for a cause he believes in.

Harrison Czapalay wants Wolfville’s downtown  to be lit with blue lights April 2, World Autism Awareness Day. He says he hopes town hall and Convocation Hall will be bathed in blue light that evening.

Blue is the symbolic color for autism awareness and the 22-year-old who has austism wants everyone to wear it April 2.

Czapalay is also planning a “Lighting It Up Blue” fundraising barbecue that day at Clock Park Proceeds will go to Acadia University’s S.M.I.L.E. program and the Annapolis Valley Chapter of Autism Nova Scotia.

“The barbecue will give people in our community the opportunity to mingle and meet,” Czapalay said. “I especially welcome fellow children, youth and adults with autism, along with their families to come to this event.”

For the last 18 years, Harrison has attended one program or another through S.M.I.L.E. He is a recognizable character in Wolfville with his cowboy hat and boots.

He was diagnosed at the age of three and is now an able spokesman for autism.  Involvement in the 4-H movement has honed his public speaking talents. He is currently president of his 4-H club, senior host for Kings County and a keen participant.

Recently, Czapalay spoke to his church, St. John’s Anglican and has spoken at local schools about autism. His message is simply acceptance: Czapalay wants children with autism to be treated the same as other youth.

He works at Michelin on a Flower Cart program, and enjoys time spent in horse barns. Harrison recently met with the autism group at Acadia and acknowledges socializing is the hardest part of being on the autism spectrum for him.

He and his supportive mom, Vicki Harris, hope everyone will wear blue.

Last year, the east end family home was well lit. They want to see blue lights shining from businesses and homes the entire length of Main Street in 2016 and Harris is trying to source blue light bulbs for others on April 2. She is also picking up food donations for the barbecue and would like to express her gratitude to local businesses.

 

 

If you Go

Meet Harrison at the barbecue April 2, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m, at Wolfville’s Clock Park.

Tax receipts can be issued for donations. Info: (902) 542-3421

 Find out more at the Facebook event page.