Unveiled at the 2010 Lehigh Valley Walk Now for Autism Speaks Awards Dinner - 9/15/2010
Story submitted by Ben Ferenchak, Lehigh Valley Walk Committee Member
The base is made of 5/8” thick Boiler Plate Steel. It was chosen because it is sturdy and nearly indestructible like the outpouring dedication of the people who make the Walk a success. The base, a big Blue puzzle piece, symbolizes Autism Speaks. Stems of the flower come from the heart of the organization. The stems represent conduits between Autism Speaks and the walkers (Families and Friends of the children within the spectrum).
The stems carry information, medical research, education, early detection, awareness, resources, outreach and HOPE from the organization to the walkers. In return the walkers stem back to the organization much needed financial resources to carry out the mission. The petals of the flower, constructed from antique cast iron shoe cobbler anvils, represent the walkers. When they all come together for Walk day the autism community blossoms. The shoe anvils are all different sizes; moms, dads, sisters, brothers, relatives, friends, co-workers. All of the walkers are represented. All have tired, sore feet by the end of the day. The center of the flower is a cluster of gears from a bicycle, also called a cog. It represents how everyone involved is a little cog in the big machine. Together we make the big machine run efficiently.
It is also a representation of a spin off fund raiser that the artist did; “Uncle Bens Bike Ride for Autism”. Google it. Attached to the cog, hanging underneath is a chrysalis, this is where a caterpillar spins a cocoon and becomes a butterfly; ours houses an old skeleton key. The key represents the locked up answers to all of the questions we are all striving to conquer, but time is passing by quickly, the kids are growing older, and so much needs to be done yet. On top of the flower is the butterfly also made from a skeleton key. Symbolizing the future when all of the miles we walked, all of the shoes we wore out, all of the blisters we put band-aids on, all of the monies we raised, and all of the research that was done, finally emerge from that old cocoon hanging underneath to unlock a breakthrough in medical science, a known cause, a successful treatment, and HOPE for all of the ones we love that are depending on us to solve the puzzle.
*Ben walks for his nephew’s team “Brads Brigade” in the Lehigh Valley Walk Now for Autism Speaks in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is an active walk committee person responsible for orchestrating parking for 10,000 walkers on walk day. A small cog in a big machine. Volunteer today!
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