November 22, 2013  By Connie K Ho | OC Register

Eye On OC: A Safe Bet for Support

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Life-sized playing cards, poker aficionados and TV stars were part of the Vegas-style event at the seventh annual Ante Up for Autism Gala and Casino Night. The event at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point was held to benefit Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).

The group, a national organization with its headquarters in Irvine, provides parent education and support to families who have been affected by autism. Co-hosted by actor Joseph Reitman and pro poker player Michelle Lau, the night began with a reception where guests sampled bite- sized appetizers and bid on silent-auction items, including a Bob Sagetautographed photo and script from the ’80s and ’90s sitcom “Full House.”

“TACA is an organization close to my heart because I’ve seen them help families that are dealing with autism and I’ve seen the hopelessness in these parents’ eyes,” Lau said. “You can see the sense of relief and the hope that TACA brings to these families – anything that I can help do, I’m all in for it.”

A few of the celebrities mingled, including actors Rich Sommer (AMC’s “Mad Men”) and David Marcian(Showtime’s “Homeland”) as well as actress Lauren Potter (Fox’s “Glee”).

“I’m looking forward to raising as much money as we can to help find a cure,” said Marciano, whose son has autism.

After the reception, the attendees were able to try their luck at tables set up for casino games such as craps and blackjack. There was also a sprawling buffet, where guests filled their plates with an assortment of meats, vegetables and desserts. More than 300 people were in attendance to help raise money for autism-related support and resources.

“Autism is treatable and it’s our pleasure to do this because we know that it’s not this ‘game over’ – it’s ‘game on,’” said TACA Executive Director & Founder Lisa Ackerman.

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