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The “Fighting for Autism” wall, painted by local artist Matthew Brock. The event is being held on Saturday.

Fighting for Autism to be held at Middlesboro Mall Saturday

Fighting for Autism is a non-profit organization that has many divisions that proudly works with children, families and communities to bring autism awareness and inclusion among different cultures to help with self-esteem and anti-bullying programs for children and adults living on the autism spectrum through many different divisions — including Fighting For Autism, Fitness For Autism and Racing For Autism.

Local heavyweight MMA fighter Ben Rowland is the event’s organizer. Rowland’s pro record stands at 4-2. He says the goal of Fighting for Autism is to raise both awareness and donations in order to provide free classes for anyone who has autism.

The event will be held Saturday at the Middlesboro Mall. The grappling event will begin at 2 p.m. Admission to the event is free of charge, but donations are accepted and appreciated greatly. If you needed any extra motivation, Batman will be at the event to take pictures with the children.

“Our goal is to be able to offer free classes to anyone with autism through fundraisers and donations,” said Rowland. “We are a non-profit group who relies on fundraisers and donations to be able to offer free classes.”

Rowland says that even if one child benefits from the event, he will consider it to be a success.

“This whole event means a lot to me,” he said. “If we are able to offer these free classes, that will make this a huge success. If even one child benefits from this, it will be a huge success as well. That’s the whole goal of this event. We have a wonderful community here that really embraces giving back and helping. We feel like if there’s anywhere we can get this thing off the ground, it’s right here in Middlesboro.”

Rowland says that he wouldn’t have been able to get this event off the ground without the help of many local sponsors in the area.

“I just want to give a special thank you to all the local business who sponsored our grappling event,” said Rowland. “Mountain Tarp, Venable Boxing, Ol’ Bootleggers and Xtreme Fitness are a few great local businesses that have sponsored our grappling event. We can’t say enough how thankful we are for the support and sponsorship. I would also like to give a big thank you to Matthew Brock for painting the Fighting For Autism wall for us, he did a great job.”