On June 26, “A Salute to our Researchers” was the theme of the 7th Annual Toronto Walk Now for Autism Speaks – with over 40 members of the research community led by Drs. Stephen Scherer and Wendy Roberts joining the opening ceremony participants on stage. Steven and Wendy thanked the over 7000 walkers in attendance at Nathan Phillips Square for their support and we met with resounding applause worthy of their incredible work. And who was that strolling around in the Toys'R'Us Geoffrey costume? Well, none other than Simone Griffin – a member of our research crew!
Top Fund Raiser Paula Stamp (Team CJ) handed her title of Top Rookie Fund raiser to Paul Stellato (Team Matthew and Michael Stellato). This dynamic duo’s combined team totals were over $43,000 as of Walk day. Rachael Fleming of Toys'R'Us Canada announced the final tally of the Spring Toys'R'Us / Babies'R'Us campaign and presented a cheque for $713,227 to Marc Murnaghan, Steven Wise and Jill Farber of Autism Speaks Canada’s Board of Directors. Walkers and volunteers grooved to the tunes of The Swingset Mamas (Lizzie Swan and Marlowe Bechmann) who so generously donated their time, talent and travelled to Toronto from the US with their families including Marlowe’s own inspiration – Lila!
The square was jam-packed with activities and fun thanks to Toys'R'Us, Spinmaster, BDO and their Bowling Crew and Landscape Structures. The special talents of the autism community were highlighted with performances by Maplewood Drum Band led by Jason Kenemy and 13-year old Mitch Daniels who wowed the crowd with his remarkable voice. The closing ceremonies included a passionate speech by Shaelynne Bush who spoke of her love and respect for her two brothers who live with autism and Sharon Butchard of Precious Minds – one of the recipients of our 2010 Community Grants. More pictures can be seen on Autism Speaks Canada’s Facebook site.
Special thanks to event sponsors KRG Children’s Charitable Foundation, Unity for Autism, Spinmaster, Mr. Case, Puresource, Landscape Structures and Starbucks and to volunteer Walk Chair, Scott Chataway whose leadership and support sees the this event currently at $580,726. Fall wrap events include the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and an opportunity for those not satisfied with the 3km walk to run a full, half or 5km distance all in support of Autism Speaks Canada. Visit http://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/en/charity.htm for more information or call the office at 888-362-6227 to get your registration code.
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.