The autism nonprofit Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI) has announced that it has chosen Olympian and Sachem Alum Maria Michta to be the Grand Marshal of its annual "DDI Walk and Motorcycle Run for Autism" event.
The organization said Michta confirmed her availability late last night. The 5K tour will be held on Sept. 23 at the Holtsville Ecology Center.
"We knew with the Olympics and all the Olympic frenzy everyone was in, that Maria would be a good fit for our event," said Julie Grilli, a spokesperson for the DDI. "Plus, she's a racewalker and this is a walk, so it's perfect."
This is the first year that the DDI, which provides service to more than 5,000 autistic children and adults, has included a motorcycle run, after numerous bike enthusiasts asked to be involved, Grilli said. The 5K provides a scenic tour of the Holtsville Ecology Park, and as attendees travel through the park they'll be met along the way with activities, culminating in a picnic at the park with food, music, games and a petting zoo.
Registration to partake in the walk will begin at 9 a.m. and the event starts at 10:30 a.m. Those interested in the motorcycle run will register with their bikes at 9 a.m. in the parking lot of Hansen Home Designs on Smithtown Avenue in Bohemia. Hansen Home Designs is the official sponsor of the motorcycle portion of the event.
There is a suggested minimum donation of $35 at registration, which helps cover expenses for food and provides all registrants with a free T-shirt. All of the proceeds from the event will go to benefit the DDI's efforts with autism. A rain date has been set for Sept. 30.