Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2012, 7:13 pm

Local family modifies demo cars to benefit autism research

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By Aaron Dail

Photo:
John and Kodi Wright with their children, Axil, Alicia and Blake. The Wrights, of Lyndon, Ill., modify cars for demolition derbies and then auction them off at events, with all the proceeds going toward autism research.
When John and Kodi Wright of Lyndon, Ill., were told last November that their sons Axil, 2, and Blake, 3, have autism, they decided to do something positive.

Avid Demo Derby fans and participants, they decided to start modifying cars for demolition derbies and then auction them off at events, with all the proceeds going to research through Autism Speaks (autismspeaks.org).

"Since there isn't a cure, we just figured it should go toward research," said Ms. Wright. "I called Bill Gussey at the Bike Barn in Lyndon (where demo derbies are held) and he was more than happy to help us do this."

"The number of children with autism is growing tremendously, and they don't know why," said Ms. Wright. "There's no research that says its one thing. I didn't realize how many children are affected. Blake was really advanced with talking and walking, but after he got his 1-year-old shots, he wasn't the same."

"They had auctioned a car off for something before, but they never had a cause," said Mr. Wright, who came up with the idea to raffle off a demo car and donates about 20 hours of his time getting a car ready for the competition. "It just seemed perfect; our kids love demo derbies."

After purchasing the first car to modify and raffle off, the Wrights got a second car by donation.

"We raised $1,500 in the last two derbies," said Mrs. Wright. "Since there isn't a cure, we just figured the money should go toward research.

"We just approach everybody and ask if they want to buy raffle tickets. We will be doing it again next summer and beyond."

To contact the Wrights about car donations, email k_wright2008@yahoo.com.