The North Shore Walk Now for Autism Speaks took place on Sunday, May 1st at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois. This first-time Walk was organized by Team Tyler, under the leadership of 15-year-old Team Captain, Spencer Savitz.
In 2008, Spencer began walking with Autism Speaks in Chicago in honor of his younger brother, Tyler. In just three years, Team Tyler had raised more than $200,000, shattering every fundraising record ever set at the Chicago Walk and becoming the top fundraising team ever in Chicago! For 2011, Spencer decided to take his participation to the next level by organizing a Walk in his community, a north suburb of Chicago. Working with his family, friends, schoolmates and teachers, Spencer launched the North Shore Walk, which welcomed more than 400 walkers and has raised nearly $160,000! “Spencer Savitz is a hero to all of us at Autism Speaks. His love for his brother and his passion to change the future for everyone who struggles with autism are inspiring people every day,” said Liz Klug, executive director of the Chicagoland Chapter of Autism Speaks. “We are so proud to acknowledge Spencer’s leadership, the loving support of his family and the wonderful community that has embraced him and his support of Autism Speaks.”
Walk Day greeted participants with blue skies and sun, a welcome respite from the gray week leading up to Walk Day! Walkers enjoyed music provided by Bizar Entertainment. Special guests, State Representative Karen May, Pat Kemp, executive vice president of awareness and events for Autism Speaks, and Northwestern Women’s Basketball Coach Joe McKeown, joined Spencer Savitz on stage to welcome walkers.
Watch Spencer’s speech. Congratulations to the top three fundraising teams, Team Tyler, Team Miles and Team Casey and top individual fundraisers, Spencer Savitz, Skylar Aronson and Jack E., Brett Z. And Dylan H. Very special thanks also to event sponsors E Street Denim, Coco Pazzo and the Chicago Botanic Garden.
A huge thank you to Spencer, the Savitz family, every team, walker, sponsor and volunteer who made this first annual Walk a success!
The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.