From Riverton, NJ, Becky and her family arrived in Surfside Beach in 2012. A marketing and business consultant, she has a child with high-functioning autism. After relocating, it was apparent there were organizations that supported the child with autism, but no real support for the families. Champion Autism Network was born from that realization. Becky is driven to provide families dealing with autism a “traditional” family experience—whether that be a movie, meal at a restaurant or family vacation–modified for those with autism. Becky is married to Michael Large, has two sons and a precious puppy named Pepper.
My name is David Boyer. I have worked in the hospitality industry for over 25 years. I have always been obsessed with providing great customer service and creating incredible vacation memories. Once Brady came into our lives, we looked at things differently. A lot of the things we did as a family was taken for granted. Just going to the store, yet alone on vacation was more of a challenge. It was more difficult to do things as a family. Once we moved to Myrtle Beach we heard about the many activities that were offered for kids with Autism. Brady had a chance to go see things and do activities that he had never done before. I also learned about the training CAN does for resorts and hotels to offer the chance for other families to visit Myrtle Beach. This was the same time I was trying to educate my own company on how we can better serve families and children in the autism community. I believe it is so important for the family bonding and togetherness. CAN provides that opportunity by working with businesses and resorts. There is so much that can be done in our area and we have the opportunity to assist other communities to help them learn and develop their own programs with businesses. CAN can truly make a big difference in so many lives.
Originally from Delran, NJ, I moved to Myrtle Beach in 2016. I currently work for Edward Jones as a Financial Advisor. Prior to my involvement with CAN I had no connection with Autism. I first met Becky at a CAN event at Ripley’s Aquarium where I was working, and from there I went on to intern with CAN for my final semester of graduate school at Rutgers University. It was this experience that opened my eyes to the lack of services for families and individuals touched by Autism Spectrum Disorder and that is why I continue to serve to this day. Alongside Champion Autism Network I am also a Leadership Grand Strand alum, a Red Cross volunteer, involved in the Grand Strand Young Professionals Steering Committee, a member of Chicora Rotary Club, and a member of the inaugural 2020 Class of Change Makers in the Grand Strand. My mission is to raise awareness and advocate on behalf of our families and others who have been touched by ASD within our community.
Formerly a Retail Executive in NYC for more than 30 years, Judy retired to Myrtle Beach with her autistic adult son, Reid. They joined CAN in 2016 and have benefited greatly from their events. The ability to enjoy social activities with family and peers is so important to the quality of life for kids living with autism. Judy states, “this is my opportunity to give back to CAN and use my skills to help move the organization forward.”
My goal in Helping with CAN is to let parents and families of children with autism know they are not alone. They have a place where they will be accepted and understood in our CAN activities. I am a nurse by trade but currently not practicing to be home with my children. My goal is to make transitions for People in the same situation as me, smoother and less of a struggle. Our lives as parents of autistic children have plenty of ups and downs. I prefer to try to help take some of the struggles off the shoulders of other parents so the ups far outweigh the downs.
Dr. Crystal L. Franklin
Dr. Crystal L. Franklin, OD was born and raised in the Oatland community of Georgetown, SC, where she attended Choppee High School and graduated with honors. For undergraduate studies, Dr. Franklin attended Clemson University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences. Immediately afterwards, Dr. Franklin attended Southern College of Optometry, in Memphis, Tennessee where she earned a doctorate of Optometry degree. While in Memphis, TN, she was afforded the ability to participate in many community outreach programs such as providing eyecare services to residents in nursing homes, church health screenings, school health screenings, and other charitable efforts.
Upon graduating optometry school, Dr. Franklin returned to her native roots in Georgetown, SC to continue the same services through her current practice , located in Pawleys Island, SC. She is an established member of the South Carolina Optometric Physicians Association, the American Optometric Association, and the National Optometric Association. Locally, she is a proud member of the Mu Phi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, is the current President of the Conway Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., and a board member of CareTeam.
Dr. Franklin has one daughter , Kaylee Brooke, and both are members of Wellspring Fellowship Church located in Myrtle Beach, SC. Outside of the office, Dr. Franklin enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, shopping, meeting new people, and learning new things. She is the first African American female Optometrist to practice optometry in the greater Georgetown, and Horry Counties. Dr. Franklin is passionate about all things “Autism” and is excited to be a part of the CAN team.
Andrew Kipple, also known as Dew, is the President and CEO of Three Ring Focus – a web design and marketing company in Myrtle Beach. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA (so yes, the Steelers and Penguins are in the blood by birth) Andrew graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio with a B.S. in Marketing and then received his law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in Indiana. He is married to his wonderful wife Carla and they have two beautiful daughters, Lucianna and Leanna.
Dr. Cynthia Johnston
Originally from Pennsylvania, Cynthia and her husband moved to South Carolina in 2006. Now in her 21st year in higher education, she has worked for numerous colleges and universities, including Coastal Carolina University and Horry-Georgetown Technical College, where she currently serves as the Assistant Vice President for Recruitment and Engagement.
Once in South Carolina, Cynthia was provided with the opportunity to participate in many local leadership and community involvement programs including the CCU Leadership in Training Program, the South Carolina Technical College System Leadership Academy, and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Grand Strand Program, where she was introduced to the Champion Autism Network. Watching her best friend raise a child on the autism spectrum, she embraced the opportunity to be part of CAN and help raise awareness for families with autistic children.
Cynthia earned her Ph.D. in Education from Coastal Carolina University in 2022 and resides in the Myrtle Beach area with her husband and daughter.
We want to give our kids the experience most other kids have, even if it is emotionally draining, and programs like this make us feel as if we are not alone.
- Andy Reithel