WOODSTOCK — A local motorcycle group is raising money to put a service dog by the side of a Huntley boy who has autism.
The McHenry County Chapter of the Iron Justice Motorcycle Club will hold its benefit run "4 Paws for Will" on Saturday, August 16. Money will go toward helping Will Swanson, the family of whom is raising money for an autism assistance dog.
Local Iron Justice President Dan Patenaude said the cause struck several of the motorcycle group's members who, as law enforcement officers, had worked with service K-9's in the past.
"To see the service dogs in the civilian world, and especially with a four-year-old autistic child, is just awesome," Patenaude said.
Swanson has non-verbal autism. The service dog – once purchased by the Huntley family – will be tethered to Swanson to keep him close to his parents at all times.
In the case that Swanson detaches himself from the dog and goes missing, the K-9 will be trained to find the boy.
"As he gets older and gains some independence, that's kind of a fear that I have," said Jenny Territo, Swanson's mother.
She said having the dog will give her an added peace of mind.
Registration for the benefit run starts at 10:30 a.m. at Kingston Lanes, 1330 S. Eastwood Drive, Woodstock. The first motorcycles leave the parking lot by noon, according to a news release from Iron Justice.
The run takes the bikes through Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, and includes a raffle and prizes, the release said.
It costs $25 per rider and $15 per passenger.
"We're buying a dog for a little boy," said Eric Decker, of Iron Justice. "What else could you ask for in a fundraiser?"
For more information or with questions, contact Decker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-312-4303.