Reynoldsburg resident James Lee plans to travel almost 300 miles across Ohio on a scooter to raise money for and awareness of autism.

Reynoldsburg resident James Lee plans to travel almost 300 miles across Ohio on a scooter to raise money for and awareness of autism.

He is calling his campaign “Raise a Ruckus for Autism” because his scooter is a Honda Ruckus.

His goal is to raise at least $2,000, with all proceeds donated to the Autism Society of Ohio.

The scooter trek will begin in Richmond, Ind., on April 20, 2012. Lee plans to span Ohio, mostly on old U.S. Route 40 heading east, ending in Bridgeport, Ohio, near the West Virginia border on April 22.

He said he checked with the State Highway Patrol when planning his route and was advised to use Route 40 because there is no posted minimum speed limit on it. His route will pass through Reynoldsburg on East Main Street at about 1 p.m. on April 21, where he plans to stop to take part in a silent auction/car bash fundraiser for in the parking lot of Buffalo Wild Wings in the Taylor Square shopping center, 2386 Taylor Square Drive.

Lee, 42, a native of Zanesville, has lived in Reynoldsburg for the better part of 20 years. He and his wife, Cheryl, are the parents of 8-year-old Charlie, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3.

“To some, this effort may seem small and insignificant, but when you have a child with autism, any effort given should be worthy of consideration,” he said. “Between now and then, I am raising money by word of mouth and at area businesses that I frequent, but the word is getting out.”

A general maintenance technician for Car Care of Reynoldsburg, Lee said ever since his son was diagnosed, he has been trying to think of some way to raise awareness and to help find a cure.

“Everybody makes fun of me on my scooter, even the guys at work, so one day at lunchtime, some friends of mine said, ‘Why don’t you take that thing a ride across the state?” Lee said. “I paused and said, ‘You know what? That might be a neat idea,’ and I looked into it, and the wheels started turning, and I said hey, if I’m going to do that, I need to do it for a good reason.”

Autism is a neurological disorder that affects the brain, causing those afflicted to have extremely heightened or lowered senses and affecting the way they perceive the environment around them.

“For example, on a pleasant, comfortable day for you and I, Charlie could be freezing to death. It would be extremely cold for him,” Lee said. “Or temperatures that would be warm to us could be extremely hot to him.”

According to the United States Center of Disease Control, autism affects 1 in 110 children and an undetermined number of undiagnosed adults.

Lee said the 2010 Census report on Reynoldsburg lists the city’s population at 35,893. Of that, 26 percent are younger than 18, which equates to almost 7,500 children, he said.

“By the ratio of 1 in 110, that means that we have anywhere between 75 and 85 young people with this disorder in Reynoldsburg,” Lee said. “Our son, Charlie, is one of them.

“The distress that autism leaves on families and others can be quite overwhelming,” he added. “There is no cure and autism has no gender, age or race barrier.”

His 2009 Ruckus is registered to go about 45 miles per hour, but the fastest he’s managed is 43 mph – “and that was downhill,” Lee said.

He usually travels 30 to 40 mph, but averages between 70 and 85 miles to the gallon, which is one of the reasons he decided to buy the scooter in the first place.

Traveling almost 300 miles on a scooter could tend to make one’s backside a little sore, Lee agreed.

“It’s going to be very sore. I mean, when it’s warmer, I’ll run around town and by the time I get home, my back is sore and rear end is very sore,” he said.

Despite the discomforts, however, he said he hopes his venture in April will help educate communities about the autism.

“I want this thing to be, for lack of a better term, like a Forest Gump thing, you know? É I want people to know what’s going on and that somebody is making an effort to raise the awareness on autism,” he said.

‘Raise a Ruckus for Autism’ itinerary

• Start at Richmond, Ind., no later than 9 a.m on April 20.

• Stop in Dayton for solicitation, public relations, distribution of fliers by 11 a.m.

• Leave Dayton by noon and arrive outside Springfield area no later than 2 p.m.

Solicit for funds and distribute fliers for about an hour. Depart by 3 p.m. Continue riding until sundown or upon reaching West Jefferson.

• Stay overnight in West Jefferson. Leave at 8 a.m. April 21 for Columbus metropolitan area.

• Stop in Reynoldsburg for rally by 1 p.m., with a silent auction/car bash fundraiser at Buffalo Wild Wings in the Taylor Square shopping center, 2386 Taylor Square Drive.

• Leave Reynoldsburg at 3 p.m. and head for Zanesville.

• Arrive in Zanesville by 6 p.m. and solicit funds and distribute fliers. Stay overnight and leave Zanesville for Cambridge at 8 a.m. April 22.

• Arrive in Cambridge by 10 a.m. for solicitation and distribution of fliers. Leave Cambridge at 11 a.m.

• Arrive in Old Washington by noon. Fuel up in Old Washington. Route 40 and I-70 merge at this point, so there will be a course deviation of 40 to 50 miles or two hours maximum.

• Arrive in Morristown no later than 3 p.m. and continue on to St. Clairsville, arriving at around 4 p.m.

• At 5 p.m., head for the Ohio-West Virginia border, arriving in Bridgeport before sunset. Have final rally, pass out fliers and conclude with an overnight stay.

• Leave Bridgeport Monday, April 23, to return home.