Costumes Bring Fun and Color to Autism Awareness Walk

Gather Teams Now for Candy-Land 5K and 1-Mile Walk

(Joplin, MO) – You don’t have to wait for Halloween to don a costume. Create your own Queen Frostine, Lord Licorice, and Gramma Nutt ensemble and get moving for Bill & Virginia Center for Autism’s 13th Annual Walk for Autism Awareness and Candy-Land 5K.

While the one-mile walk and non-competitive 5K will both be held virtually this year, themed costumes and team shirts are still encouraged. Members of the same team may participate in different events. Net proceeds support program development and scholarship assistance at Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism.

Registration is open now at Entry fee for the 5K, which includes a t-shirt, is $30 until August 31, $35 from September 1 – 30, and $40 on event day. Registration for the one-mile walk is $15 per walker, with a discounted rate of $10 for children 12 and under. Kids two and under walk free. While the walk registration fee does not include a shirt, T-shirts can be added to a walk registration for an additional $5.

Participants can watch the event kickoff at 1:00 pm on Saturday, October 3, on the Candy-Land 5K and Walk for Autism Facebook event page. Virtual 5K registrants will still receive a t-shirt and a swag bag. These can be picked up between 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm on Monday, September 28, at Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism (2808 S. Picher Ave., Joplin, MO). This is also when walk registrants can pick up shirts, if they order them. You can also take part in raffles through the event registration page.

Developed in consultation with the Cleveland Clinic Autism Consulting Group, Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism provides Applied Behavior Analysis, an intensive therapy proven to unlock parts of the brain that control function such as language, emotion, social skills and interest. In 2010, a Special Education Center was created, expanding therapy services to students from kindergarten through 12th grade. In 2011, the center established the Four State’s first Autism Diagnostic Team, which offers the resources of an entire team of diagnostic professionals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 54 children has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. In 2014, it was one in 59.

About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2019, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2019. With more than 300 physicians on staff representing more than 70 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit


Lisa Olliges, Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator
Freeman Health System

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