PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – April 1 marks the beginning of Autism Awareness Month. Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the United States. This weekend, the Eagles will host a special drive-in event for autism.
The Eagles have made a big commitment to autism, supporting a number of community and research projects.READ MORE: North Philadelphia Crash Leaves Young Girl Dead; Sister, Mother Injured
Having autism doesn’t keep 9-year-old Levi Douglas from enjoying Eagles events. During games, he can escape to the sensory room where loud noise is eliminated, along with other things that can be painful and overwhelming for people with autism.
‘They really meticulously made it their mission to really understand that kids need a break from being overloaded with all these sensory boundaries,” Levi’s mom Chante Douglas said.
The Eagles Autism Foundation also recently had a sensory-friendly COVID vaccine clinic.
“It’s been amazing to see what we’ve been able to accomplish going on our fifth year,” Ryan Hammond with the Eagles Autism Foundation said. “So we’ve raised over $12 million. Every dollar of that goes back into to the community, whether it’s through our community grants program or our research grants programs.”
On Sunday, the Eagles will have their annual “Huddle Up for Autism” at Lincoln Financial Field — a sensory-friendly drive-in show.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Severe Storm, Flooding Threat Kicks Off Memorial Day Weekend
“Everything they’ve done for the city and the community is transformative,” Jennifer Gaier, with the Elwyn Institute, said.
Gaier says they’ve also received support from the Eagles Autism Foundation for services helping their clients with autism and intellectual challenges.
“We are truly thankful and grateful for everything they have done and the awareness they’ve brought,” Gaier said.
For Levi’s mom, it’s emotional. She’s a lifelong Eagles fan, grateful for the commitment to autism.
“It’s like a full-circle moment to have, and I’m not gonna cry… To have a team that I love so much support my son and cares about my son – I wasn’t gonna do this. I’m sorry,” Chante Douglas said as she wiped away tears. “It means a lot, it really does.”MORE NEWS: Former Pennsylvania AG Kathleen Kane Scheduled To Appear In Scranton Courtroom Following DUI Charge