MO State HS Sports
(AUDIO): Saturday’s bowling for autism in Columbia raises more than ,000 for Easterseals Midwest

(AUDIO): Saturday’s bowling for autism in Columbia raises more than $30,000 for Easterseals Midwest

Columbia businessman John Cleek Jr. organized the 20th annual Bowling for Autism event at Columbia’s Town and Country lanes (April 22, 2023 photo from 939 the Eagle’s Brian Hauswirth)

Organizers of Saturday’s 20th annual bowling for autism event in Columbia say it raised thousands of dollars to benefit Easterseals Midwest in Columbia and across Missouri. The event was presented by the Cleek family and businessman John Cleek Sr., who says it was a fantastic day.

“And we had a full turnout for all the lanes. A lot of great support throughout the community. We raised probably a little more than $30,000 today (Saturday). This is the 20th annual tournament today so over the 20 years, we’ve raised probably approximately about $530,000 that’s gone to provide services and programs for Easterseals Midwest,” Cleek says.

Mr. Cleek took time to introduce every staff member from Easterseals Midwest to the audience at the bowling alley, noting that they have a limited budget and aren’t doing their jobs for the money. He says staff members love to serve people, especially those with developmental disabilities.

Cleek also notes there is no cure for autism.

“The whole key is getting early intervention, getting them started early with therapies. And like our son Thomas, he’s 23 now, my wife Heather and I noticed something when he was about two years old, had some behavioral issues, had some learning issues and so forth. But with the right therapy, the right diet and so forth he’s led a very normal life,” says Cleek.

Mr. Cleek notes his son Thomas has graduated from high school and college, holds a job and drives a vehicle.

Zimmer Radio was a media sponsor for the event, and fielded a team as well.