The chilly wind that blew on Jones Beach State Park on Sunday, October 3 didn’t stop over 28,000 attendees from participating and enjoying the Long Island Walk Now for Autism Speaks.
The Walk has raised, to date, over $1 million and counting! The rainbow of Walk team t-shirts and banners exhibited by over five hundred teams were a colorful contrast to the cloudy skies. Also brightening the day was a special appearance by Temple Grandin, and Emily Gerson Saines, the Executive Producer of the HBO film Temple Grandin. During her brief remarks, Temple Grandin emphasized the critical importance of early intervention, education and job training for individuals on the autism spectrum.
She offered herself as an example of how these three tools can be used to build a fulfilling and successful life for people affected by autism. Also in attendance were many New York State elected officials, including NY State Senate President Malcolm Smith, who called on NY State Governor David Paterson to sign the Autism Insurance Reform Bill (passed unanimously by both the Senate and Assembly) into law; US Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, NY State Senator Charles Fuschillo and NY State Senator Craig Johnson.
Special musical guests included CJ Ramone (of The Ramones), Kyle Cousins (“Everybody Needs to be Heard”,) and the Swingtime Big Band. The stage show was hosted by Steve Harper, Morning Show host at KJOY 98.3 FM Radio and Steve Harper, Morning Show host at Fresh 102.7 FM Radio.
Honorary Walk Chairs included NY City Celebrity Chef Christopher Lee, of Aureole Restaurant, who hosted the Grand Club Tent and provided a delicious spread of light snacks and beverages, and Craig Allen, Chief Meteorologist at WCBS Radio 880AM. The success of this Walk is due in no small part to the Walk committee lead by Executive Walk Chair, Michael Giangregorio and Walk Co-Chairs, Danny Ryan and Kathleen Lanese.
THANK YOU for all you do to help Autism Speaks' mission: to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders. For more information about the Walk, please visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AutismSpeaks.LI.