Walk Now For Autism Speaks Takes Off Around The Country

 

(Sept. 28, 2013) From the Jersey Shore to Houston and beyond, tens of thousands of walkers turned out to Walk Now For Autism!  Ten different locations across the country held walks today to raise funds and awareness for this great cause.

More than 2,000 walkers participated in 5th Annual Richmond Walk Now for Autism Speaks at the Richmond International Raceway. The morning featured entertainment from the Diggity Dudes, children’s activities, a meet-and-greet with local mascots, photos in Victory Lane, and more, followed by a walk on the racetrack of the Richmond International Raceway.

To date, the Richmond event has raised more than $118,000 in support of Autism Speaks’ mission to fund research, increase awareness and family services and advocate for individuals with autism and their families.

Since the start of the Richmond Walk five years ago, the event has raised over half a million dollars for Autism Speaks! Special thanks to the sponsors, supporters, and walk committee for their amazing support to reach this mile stone and for making the 5th Annual Richmond Walk Now for Autism Speaks the best year yet!

More than 4,000 attendees participated in the 10th Annual Houston Walk at Reliant Park.  The event included a resource fair with more than thirty exhibitors offering participants information about autism services and programs in the Houston community, including The Shape of Behavior and The Autism Place.  Children enjoyed face painting, bounce houses and sponsor Springfree Trampoline provided safe trampolines to jump on.  

Several special guests attended the event including Liz Feld, President of Autism Speaks, Kathleen Moore, Senior Regional Director – West, and Shawna Horn, Director of Corporate Relations.

To date, the event has raised more than $425,000 in support of Autism Speaks’ mission to fund research, increase awareness and family services and advocate for individuals with autism and their families. Sally MacDonald, anchor of the weekend morning news at Fox, aired a story on the walk.  Fore more walk up-dates and event photos visit our face book page at www.facebook.com/AutismSpeaks.Houston.

Unfortunately, mother nature put a damper on today's Kansas City Walk.   Threat of lightning and storms forced the team to cancel the event.  As you can see from the photo below, it was the right decision.  

Autism Speaks worked with the staff at Arrowhead to wait until the last possible moment to make a decision but with their guidance, it was decided that the lightning was dangerous and would be continuing throughout the timeline of the event.

To date, the event raised $133,192 more than in support of Autism Speaks’ mission. Staff will not be able to entirely reschedule the event due to costs and logistics involved but are working a scaled down version or smaller community events where everyone can come turn in funds raised, receive walkers and Grand Club pins they’ve earned, and be thanked in person for their hard work.

Please check back to the Walk Site for details on how to drop off donations and pick up your t-shirt.

More than 2,000 families and individuals participated in the Jacksonville Walk. The Jacksonville Landing, once again, was the perfect location to host this event, right in the center of downtown.

The walk route was along the St. Johns River, a stunning site for the walkers to pass by.  The Landing was a great place to showcase the biggest ever Resource Fair, which lined the Walk route.

Autism Speaks also hosted a Kids Area on a beautiful, grassy hill at one end of the Resource Fair so children could safely bounce in our bounce house, play corn hole, and even get their faces painted! The energy of the day was remarkable – in fact the families stayed after the walk had ended to play in the Kids Area, dance to the DJ and band, and browse the Resource Fair.

Families even came out in their own team t-shirts and home-made signs to support their loved ones with autism. And the top Jacksonville team, Hudson’s Heroes, raised over $7,700.

Over 800 Nebraska individuals and families participated in the 7th annual Nebraska Walk Now for Autism Speaks on Saturday, September 28th, at Haymarket Park in Lincoln. Though the morning started out rainy, windy and cold, it didn't dampen the spirits of the crowd, and just as registration began, the clouds lifted, and the sun shone bright for the rest of the day!

Local fan favorite, Channel 1011 meteorologist, Ken Siemek, served as emcee of the event and kept the group entertained all day. The Step Chain Team from Southeast High School entertained walkers while they waited for registration. Prior to the start of the walk, Boy Scout troop Pack 48 conducted the flag ceremony followed by the Pius X Choir singing the National Anthem. Regular walk attendee, Nebraska Governor, Gov. Heineman, addressed the group, visited with families and walked the 1-mile route with the crowd.

Both adults and children enjoyed visits from Subman from Subway along with Pacific the Penguin from the Lincoln Children's Zoo. Sightings of Star Wars characters Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Imperial Officers and Imperial Guards were reported- along with Rex from local sponsor, Runza. To commemorate the day, FOTObrations provided photography for attendees- including a free picture for each walk team!

An event so full of fun wouldn't have been complete without food and refreshments! Farmland Foods supplied walkers with hot dogs while Rotella's provided buns. There were also gluten- free cookies from Eazy Eatz, snacks from Katz Gluten Free Bake Shoppe and cookies from Subway. Water donations from Pepsi and Aqua Systems kept the walkers hydrated all day.

To date, Nebraska families have raised approximately $45,000 in support of Autism Speaks' mission to fund research, increase awareness and family services, and advocate for individuals with autism and their families. The weather was beautiful, the energy amazing and the day couldn't have been better! Thank you Nebraska!

The walks continued on Sunday with Northern New England taking place at Southern New Hampshire University where walkers came together to raise over $140,000! 

It's not too late to make a donation to today's events.  You can see the event status and make a general donation to an individual Walk by clicking on the links below:

Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Jacksonville
Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Fort Wayne
Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Western New England (Photos)
Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Greater Charlotte
Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Nebraska
Walk Now for Autism Speaks: New Jersey Shore
Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Northern New England
Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Greater Austin
Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Houston (Photos, Updates)
Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Richmond
Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Puget Sound

Walk Now for Autism Speaks is a fun-filled, family friendly event and is our single most powerful force to fund vital research that will lead us to the answers we need. Experience the power of thousands united by a single cause by joining Walk Now for Autism Speaks.

Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disorder in the U.S. and we need more volunteers to join our fight. Whether this is your first walk or the 10th, take the first step and register today. You will not only raise funds, but you will become a part of a fun and supportive family-focused community.

Every 11 minutes, another family receives the devastating news that their child has an autism spectrum disorder. Help us change that! Start fundraising today. Whether you strive to join our new Grand Club (walkers that raise $1,000 or more) or sell lemonade to boost your total or create your own unique event, you become a part of the solution! Don't wait another minute - start a corporate, school or family team today!

You can check out images from today's events in the slideshow below:

Previous Slide 1/24 Next Stewart Campbell raised more than $27,000 alone in connection with climbing Mt. Kiliminjaro and planting an Autism Speaks flag at the top! Team Austin is in full force at the Western New England Walk. Families enjoy the bounce houses at the Greater Austin Walk. Even horses get into the spirit at the Greater Austin Walk. Delta Chi volunteers pitch in at the Richmond Walk. Pitt Ohio corporate team celebrates its fifth year walking in Richmond. Richmond Walk team captains pose at the racetrack. Nutzy the Flying Squirrel entertains families at the Richmond Walk. The Trader Joe's team at the Richmond Walk. It was a great turnout at the New Jersey Shore Walk. The New Jersey Shore Walk kicked off with perfect weather. Fun times at the Fort Wayne Walk Now For Autism Speaks. Very big puzzle pieces at the Fort Wayne Walk. Along the St. John's River at the Jacksonville Walk. The Jacksonville Walk ended on the scenic Landing on the St. John's River. A tricked out car at the Nebraska Walk. Along the St. John's River at the Jacksonville Walk. The Jacksonville Walk ended on the scenic Landing on the St. John's River. Darth Vader The Dase family. A young volunteer at the Northern New England Walk. The Northern New England Walk. The starting line of the Northern New Jersey Walk. Walking at the Northern New Jersey Walk.

Special thanks to all of the amazing volunteers and to all of the families and teams that helped make walk day a special day every year!

Want to walk with us? Go to www.walknowforautismspeaks.org to check to see if theres a walk in your area!