Pints for Autism continues in honor of organizer killed in crash
A recent victim of a fatal accident, and local autism advocate, had been putting all of her efforts into a fundraiser that happened on Sunday.
Pints for Autism was supposed to benefit the Chattanooga Autism Center, but now the money raised will to go Cynthia Joyner's family.
Joyner was the mother of an autistic teen. Sunday would have been her third Pints for Autism event at the Honest Pint. Her friends and fellow supporters said they know it won't be the last.
"She was a fierce woman. She loved life, she loved her children, she loved her husband, she loved our community and she loved spreading the word about autism," said friend Tara Viland.
Joyner died in a tragic car crash on I-24 near Nashville one day before the fundraiser. But the event continued in her memory.
"It was devastating. We're all in shock, many of us. There are so many people whose lives she has touched, many programs she's built and affected people's lives, and so there is a large outpouring and sharing of our grief together," said Dave Buck, Director of the Chattanooga Autism Center.
Joyner's teenage son, Matthew, is autistic. It's what got her so involved in the cause.
"She would be out and about, and people would sometimes stare at his behavior, and sometimes even give her a look. She just wanted to be able to tell people about autism so they would have some empathy and some understanding. That's where she started a program called Play Me a Riddle," Buck said.
It's a program Joyner started in 2012 where she came up with fun community events to help the public understand more about autism.
Her efforts won her the Volunteer of the Year award from the CAC.
She even made an appearance with her son right here on Channel 3 last year to share her experience at the center.
Joyner's friends say her spirit will live on through events like Pints for Autism. They hope to keep it going in the years to come.
Instead of raising money for the CAC Sunday evening, other organizers decided to give all proceeds to her family.
"All we can do, and for some of us the best way to cope, is to act, and that starts tonight," said Viland
They hope to raise a few thousand dollars for the Joyner family.