2011 British Columbia Walk Now for Autism Speaks Recap 

Thursday, September 29, 2011 View Comments

The final walk event on the Canadian calendar for 2011 – the 4th Annual BC Walk Now for Autism Speaks - took place on Sunday, September 25 at beautiful Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium in  the heart of Vancouver, BC on Sunday, September 25th.

The threat of rain and high winds didn’t deter our amazing Walkers as close to 3,000 dedicated families join us on Walk Day!

A number of special guests and members of local, provincial and federal government representing all parties showed our families that autism is a non-partisan issue that will require government officials to work together with the autism community to effect change. Special thanks to Mike Lake, MP from Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont and his son Jaden who flew that morning to greet and thank walkers for being a part of the autism movement in Canada.

Kudos to our Walk Co-Chairs:  John Carinha and Claire & Dimitri Apostolopoulos, who bring to the table energy and passion that is truly unparalleled.  This event would not have been the success it was without our amazing Walk Committee and army of over 100 volunteers who, regardless of the weather, came out in full support of the Walk and our families!

The annual Resource Fair included close to 20 organizations that support our local autism community.  As part of the Resource Fair this year, Mewsic Moves brought a team of talented music therapists and hosted a music-making session.  The Canucks Autism Network had a variety of fun activities including face-painting, a soccer demonstration and a visit from the Stanley Cup Finalists’ mascot, Fin!  The kids were thrilled with Bubblesmakehimsmile.com, who blew bubbles during the entire event, even on the 3KM Walk around the Stadium!

Our wonderful sponsors who we hold in the highest regard for what they do on behalf of all families across BC and Canada,  continue to support the BC Walk Now for Autism Speaks Canada:  Toys”R”Us & Babies “R”Us, Scotiabank and Home Restaurants – whose 4 year fund raising total of this event, now surpasses $75,000. Team Home’s inspiration Carter McLaren stole the show as he grabbed the mic and thanked everyone! Special thoughts and best wishes were sent from the crowd to little Noah Milau and his family, who continues to fight his battle against cancer while living with autism.

Media sponsor Global BC and news anchor Randene Neill, helped promote the Walk in the months leading up to it. Randene continued her tradition of incredible humour and flexibility as our event MC> The Beat 94.5 music station provided music and entertainment for our attendees, while Athena Leskun Photography took candid shots and team photos.  Thank you to our product sponsors, Dairy Queen, Tim Hortons and Aqua Zone for your continued support.

We are incredibly grateful to the staff of Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium and to all of our participants who have all worked so hard over the past few months to raise awareness and money for autism research and family service programs across Canada!  The dollars that were raised are truly changing lives – as of Walk Day, the BC Walk has raised over $230,000, putting us well on our way to meeting our goal of $300,000 before the end of the year!

More pictures can be found on our Facebook site – link - http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150332304043585.353410.85380868584

We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the families and volunteers who were impacted by the unfortunate wind-related incident that took place near the end of the Walk event. The safety of our walkers, our volunteers and staff is of paramount importance to us and we will continue to work with all of our vendors to ensure the safety of our participants at this and all events.

To assist with the planning of the 5th Anniversary Vancouver Walk, please email crystal.gerrits@autismspeaks.org  and help us make next year bigger and better than ever!

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