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Local racer puts on benefit for non-profit; event postponed due to weather, now set for Sept. 11

Funds raised at the event will go to Elijah's Retreat, a non-profit in Jacksonville.

TYLER, Texas — Frankston native Dylan Beasley is living every kids dream. He's a real life race car driver. 

"My grandfather put me in a go-kart for the first time at four-years-old," Beasley said. "I was actually supposed to be five. But he kind of did some sleight of hand and got me in there. And it's been my life ever since for the most part." 

Credit: Elijah's Retreat

Now, along with the help of several community members, Beasley is taking time from his busy racing schedule to try and make a difference in kids' lives by hosting a benefit for Elijah's Retreat in Jacksonville.  

"I'm just one guy just trying to do something to give back and to help, and just be part of something bigger than me," Beasley said. 

After seeing how his younger brother and nephew, who are both on the autism spectrum, enjoyed going to to the retreat, he convinced the people at Buffalo Creek Speedway, as well as some drivers, to donate time for kids and their families to come out and enjoy an evening of fun. 

The "Race of Autism" will include a race car crawl, face painting, sensory booths, plenty of food, and of course the chance to meet and real life race car drivers. 

Credit: Race for Autism

"It's an amazing opportunity for families facing autism and all the communities to come out," Cheryl Torres, Director of Elijah's Retreat, said. "The race car drivers have signed up, volunteered to bring their cars out and let the kids actually get in the cars and crawl through them, and ask them questions about the car and read the engines which is super cool."

Torres' says the pandemic hit the non-profit facility particularly hard. The retreat consists of horses, goats, hay rides as well as cabins for families to stay in, but when the shut down commenced, Torres was forced to cut her staff to just one additional due to a lack of funding. 

"A lot of the foundation's who have previously granted us funding in the past have put a hold on their grant process, because they have just delayed it inevitably to be determined at some point," Torres said. "It's not knowing really where they're standing with all of their funding to be able to grant those awards to us, and so that's put a pinch on our operating."

Credit: Elijah's Retreat

Now hopefully this event will be able to provide a little relief for the non-profit. 

"To see how much Cheryl and her husband and the people that work there, how they were, how much they were helping, it just made me want to, you know, help them and to help them to do more for more people," Beasley said.

Due to the weather, the event has been postponed and will now be held on Friday, September 11. 

Tickets are available at the door or through the Elijah's Retreat Facebook page.