Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Engager is setting sail for Autism

Fifteen days from now, the annual Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race will be over. The winners will have been crowned, and many of the boats will have cleared out of the harbor.

For some, that’s when the real adventure starts.

On Wednesday, July 24, Nick Gammicchia, a brave young adult diagnosed with autism as a toddler, will step aboard the Engager — a boat captained by Paul Latham. Accompanied by Latham, his dad Andrew and crew member Dan Collins, the foursome will set sail on the 60-plus hour journey back to Port Huron.

It will mark the inaugural Set Sail For Autism event put on by the Bayview Yacht Club and the Macomb/St. Clair Chapter of the Autism Society of America.

For Nick, it’s a rare chance to get out onto the beautiful open water of Lake Huron and learn the ropes of sailboat racing, although he will not partake in the actual race.

For others like chapter president Theresa Gabalis, it offers a chance for Nick to prove that even autistic children and adults are capable of overcoming some of the most difficult challenges.
“I think that a lot of the community is going to be surprised at how much our young (autistic) children and our young adults are able to accomplish,” Gabalis said. “I think that’s really going to open up a lot of eyes, and I think that it’s quite an opportunity for us.”

Read the whole story at TheTimesHerald.com

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