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By Kristina Pritchett

The 10th annual Ante Up for Autism is set for Nov. 12 with funds raised at the annual event to benefit Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), which helps families deal with autism.

San Clemente’s Pat and Stephanie McIlvain, who started the event to benefit TACA, said the group looks to help families by providing as many resources as possible for families with autistic loved ones. Events like Ante up for Autism help achieve that goal.

The McIlvain’s have been a part of the organization for 15 years after their son was diagnosed with autism. Pat is a current board member with the group.

“We were just parents looking for answers,” Pat said. “They helped us out a lot; they gave us the right steps.”

Ante up for Autism is in its 10th year, and the proceeds from the event go to developing programs that connect families and professionals, while expanding the organization’s services.

“We’ve expanded the event; originally it just started off as a casino night,” Stephanie said. “This is our third year with the gala.”

There will be a live and a silent auction, a poker tournament and casino games. The live auction is also available online.

The couple believes the event is beneficial for everyone in the community, even if autism does not affect every person that attends.

“Autism is an epidemic,” Pat said. “It’s the least-funded, and it affects one in 68 children. I think it’s something that needs to be addressed now.”

One family that has been on the receiving end of the organizations’ benefits says that without TACA, they would not be where they are today.

Eric and Jaya Kreidler’s youngest son was diagnosed with autism when he was 23 months old. Since finding out about TACA, they’ve been using the resources the organization provides as well as meeting other families going through the same things they are.

“One of the biggest things is that autism can be very isolating,” Jaya said. “People don’t understand; finding TACA proves you’re not alone. There are a lot of parents like you, they understand what you’re going through, and they’re supportive. It’s amazing knowing you’re not alone.”

The event will be at Monarch Beach Resort on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit

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