SPRUMMER IS HERE: Sprummer is a fundraiser for Winston’s Wish, a nonprofit organization dedicated to treating children with autism. On Saturday night at Carolina Walk, G. Love & Special Sauce will headline this year’s edition.
Winston’s Wish was founded in 2006.
“Our state really lacked any infrastructure at all for children with autism and their families,” said Marcella Ridley, the organization’s co-founder and executive director. “Families here in South Carolina don’t have access to treatment, affordable treatment.”
The foundation is named after Ridley’s 10-year-old son, who is autistic.
“Winston has been very blessed,” Ridley said. “My family is very fortunate in that we have been able to provide treatment to Winston that he has needed. I feel very strongly that all children with autism should have the same opportunities as Winston.”
Ridley’s husband, Stephen, an emergency medicine physician at Palmetto Health, recently received F.D.A. approval on the ultrasound guided probe he developed. They also have a daughter, Ellie, 14.
Winston was diagnosed with autism at 20 months.
“His doctor told me he would never be a contributing member of society,” Ridley said.
Nine years later, he’s in general education classes at Brennen Elementary, on the honor roll and he was elected class historian.
“He struggles with peer communication,” Ridley said. “My point is that he is smart and he is educable. He will graduate from high school, college and hopefully get a job. All of this happened because Winston received early, intensive treatment.”
Winston’s Wish is about restoring hope and help families thrive. The organization believes all children should have access to adequate medical treatment. But it’s complicated with autism, which requires various forms of behavioral therapy.
The money the organization raises funds community outreach and programs like the Education Series that invites autism experts to discuss treatment and other facets of the neural development disorder. The organization is also completing the business plan for the Palmetto Center for Autism project.
Parties, particularly those held in the months when skin-bearing outfits are en vogue, are a good way to raise awareness. G. Love, who performed at the South Carolina State Fair in October, will be joined by The Project and Janie Metts.
Sprummer is slang for the transitional period between spring and summer, and the word became part of Ridley’s vocabulary at an early age. A family she babysit for got together with more than 10 other couples to put together a neighborhood party. It was called Sprummer. Furthermore, the family she was close with had six children, two with special needs.
“It’s kind of a goofy name from my childhood,” she said. “My whole side of town was at this party.”