Today, over 7,000 families and individuals along with their friends and other supporters, united to raise autism awareness and reach an ultimate fundraising goal of $450,000 in West Palm Beach. The 2013 Walk Now for Autism Speaks Palm Beach featured a certified 5 K Run and 2-3 mile Walk and Community Resource fair with educational sources, therapists, schools, recreational organizations, and creative child-friendly activities – a true “one-stop-shop” for families affected by autism. The Walk included many kid’s activities: bounce houses, face painting, balloon artists, music, and of course, fun.
“Thanks to tremendous community support and the work of our wonderful volunteers, our Walk Now for Autism Speaks event has grown each year, and we expect to expand the ranks of both walkers and donors in 2013,” said Karen Zuckerberg, Walk Co-Chair. “In addition to raising funds and awareness, the Walk is a chance for families to come together and enjoy a day of laughter, hope and community. Will Gordillo, Walk Co-Chair adds,
“Working together in the community, we are making great strides toward improving the lives of people with autism and their families.”
Co-founders of Autism Speaks Suzanne and Bob Wright, president of Autism Speaks Liz Feld, Mayor of the City of West Palm Beach Jerri Muomo, along with Walk day emcee / NBC Newschannel 5 WPTV Anchor Michael Williams, and many others, all participated in the event.
Bob Wright called for a quick end to the sequester – or $85 billion federal spending cut – as a means of reducing the nation’s budget deficit. “With the prevalence of autism soaring, now is not the time to cut back the response in vital research and critical services” said, Wright. Suzanne Wright followed with an impassioned plea to raise international autism awareness through Light It Up Blue on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day. “Just imagine if every home, in every neighborhood, in every town across the country and around the world – went blue for autism! What a powerful message, we, the autism community, would send to our global stakeholders…”
Performances by The Exceptional Theatre Program and a warm up session with Orange Theory got participants’ blood flowing and prepped them for the Walk ahead. The National Anthem was beautifully rendered by Buffy.
For the seventh consecutive year, Toys“R”Us® and Babies“R”Us® served as the national sponsors of Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Toys“R”Us is also the largest corporate partner of Autism Speaks. South Florida Ford and TD Bank also served as 2013 local corporate sponsors.
The Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are the signature fundraising events for Autism Speaks, drawing hundreds of thousands of participants in 103 cities across the U.S. and Canada to support autism research, awareness and advocacy.
Autism Speaks wishes to thanks all its Walk participants and sponsors for their ongoing support.