Unity was the theme of the Seventh Annual Walk Now for Autism Speaks walk on Nantucket.
“We are in this together” Suzanne Wright told the crowd of hundreds of walkers of all ages. They gathered early at Jetties Beach on a crisp, sunny morning to make the almost two mile trek for the three million Americans affected by autism.
But before they stretched out their muscles and laced their sneakers, the children played in a bounce house, got their faces painted with Autism Speaks blue puzzle pieces, and were fascinated with a donated “touch tank.” The adults, including moms, dads, and grandparents of children on the spectrum, listened intently to Suzanne and Bob Wright – remind the crowd to never lose sight of the reason they walk – the children.
Autism Speaks, of course-was created by Bob and Suzanne Wright after their first grandson Christian was diagnosed. He is their number one motivation. And because of him “we never take ‘no’ for an answer,” Bob said. And, he added that attitude has helped put autism on the world map.
The Wrights thanked the walkers for inspiring them time and time again to keep working for autism families and their loved ones around the globe.
Actor and Creative Director of the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket, John Shea kicked off the show again this year. And Christopher Duffley, who is blind and autistic, performed the National Anthem to help kick off the walk (video below).
Perhaps the highlight of the festivities though was the performance of the “Light It Up Blue” song by a group of children - in honor of the very successful “Light It Up Blue” awareness campaign this year.
On April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day, 8,400 buildings and landmarks were lit up blue on all seven continents. And just this past week on Nantucket, at least 100-businesses and homes were glowing blue in honor of the Nantucket walk.