Despite heavy rain and flash flood warnings, nearly 10,000 people made it to the 7th annual Georgia Walk Now for Autism Speaks event at Atlantic Station to unite and walk with family and friends affected by autism. Event co-emcees Donna Lowry and Chief Meteorologist, Mike Francis with Walk media sponsor, 11Alive News, assured walkers huddled under tents and umbrellas that the rain would subside and soon after the start of the walk, the weather cooperated.
During the opening ceremony, Bernie Marcus, chairman of The Marcus Foundation joined Liz Feld, president of Autism Speaks to thank and welcome family and friends for their perseverance and dedication to raising funds and awareness for autism. The Home Depot presented Liz with a check for $170,817 donated for blue light bulbs sold during this year’s Light It Up Blue awareness campaign.
Leading Georgia’s advocacy initiative for Ava’s Law, Anna Bullard and her 8-year old daughter, Ava, moved the audience with her heart-felt speech to encourage families to keep fighting and contact their legislators to push for autism insurance reform. Autism Votes hosted a booth to collect more signatures for the national petition urging Congress and President Obama to take action and create a national plan to address autism.
So far the Walk raised more than $540,000 and counting, which will go towards Georgia’s Walk goal of $700,000. Event proceeds will support local autism services in Georgia through Marcus Autism Center in addition to Autism Speaks’ local and national initiative to increase awareness about the growing autism health crisis, fund innovative autism research and family services, and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families in Georgia and beyond.
Watch Autism Speaks President Liz Feld accept a check from Home Depot.
Autism Speaks President Liz Feld with team captain for Chase for a Cure Bobbi Nixon
Visit www.walknowforautismspeaks.org to find a Walk near you.