etnies Footwear has teamed up with Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, to create a line of co-branded kid's footwear. Ten percent of proceeds of sales of the co-branded shoes, with a minimum of $10,000 per year, will be donated to Autism Speaks to help raise awareness and support Autism Speaks in their continued efforts to fund autism research, as well as develop resources and treatments.
etnies BMX pro Brian Kachinsky has rallied behind the cause. "Individual sports like BMX, can have a positive effect on children with autism," says Kachinsky. "When etnies made me aware of the Autism Speaks organization, I jumped at the chance to be a part of the effort," he adds.
Currently, etnies is offering two co-branded models, the Fader and RVM, which are available in children's sizes and sold in the etnies Web store. According to Kachinsky, an X Games Bronze Medalist who has been a part of the etnies BMX pro team for the past several years, etnies plans to expand their efforts. "The collection will expand to include adult footwear and apparel in coming seasons," says Kachinsky. "Also, in April, etnies and Autism Speaks are planning to host a clinic for kids diagnosed with autism to come and learn how to ride BMX and how to skateboard. It's going to be rad."
Autism, a developmental disorder that appears in the first three years of life, affects the brain's normal development of social and communication skills. Over the past two decades, autism prevalence as risen by up to 600 percent. Today, one in every 110 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. And for Kachinsky, the cause hits close to home. "I have friends who have made a career working with autistic children and I admire their dedication in working with those living with autism," he says. "I also think it's part of my role as pro to utilize that status and influence for positive efforts like Autism Speaks."
Autism remains a challenging condition for children and their families, but the outlook today has improved. Today, with the right therapy, many of the symptoms of autism can be mitigated, though most people will have some symptoms throughout their lives. Kachinsky believes that the joint effort between etnies and Autism Speaks will help raise awareness of the disorder.
"As a pro BMX rider, I believe that being a good role model is crucial. Kids are paying close attention to what we do. And if we take their attention and expose them to different causes and amazing organizations like Autism Speaks, we can educate them and hopefully encourage them to support the causes that are important to them personally."
Additional etnies athletes supporting the Autism Speaks cause include skateboarders Jose Rojo and Ryan Sheckler, BMXer Aaron Ross, FMX pro Kyle Loza, and etnies surfers Kai Otton and Sally Fitzgibbons.
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. Since then, Autism Speaks has grown into the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
To learn more, visit etnies.com.