A beautifully sunny day unfolded for the 4th annual Sacramento Walk Now for Autism Speaks and nearly 9000 participants came out to celebrate with us at Raley Field on Sunday, October 9th. Participants helped to turn in over $16,000 on Walk day, bringing our Walk total to just over 200,000 so far in support of our $273,000 goal. Many teams have fundraisers planned through the end of the year, so we’re excited to watch that total climb daily!
A highlight of the Walk was the Community Resource Fair, which featured over 30 local autism-related service providers. Children’s entertainment activities filled all corners of the ballpark, and included inflatables, crafts, and face painting. Storm Troopers, cheerleading squads, and princesses entertained along concourse.
Amy Lewis, longtime morning radio host of KFBK, emceed the walk. The program included a live interview with Autism Speaks Executive Vice President, Peter Bell as well as our walk co-chairs Kristen Byrne and Stephanie Blackard.
One of the true feathers of the day was when we received word that Gov Jerry Brown had just announced his signing of SB 946, a law that requires health plans and insurers to provide behavioral health treatments for individuals with autism and PDD as the nearly 9000 walkers left Raley Field and made their way to the steps of California’s capitol building. Upon arrival, our bill sponsor Senate President Darrell Steinberg met the walkers who have heard there might be an announcement. Local news cameras arrive and start doing interviews and Senator Steinberg then made the announcement that Gov Brown has signed SB946! The crowd erupts with cheers, applause, hugging, and crying. This signing made California the 28th state to enact autism insurance reform.
Thank you to our generous sponsors including Toys“R”Us, Babies“R”Us, The Car Czar, Commercial Energy, Lewkowitz Construction, Poor Boys Auto Club, SureWest, Purdue Pharma, Kaiser Permanente Latino Assn., Micron, and Lindamood Bell Learning Solutions. And thanks to our media sponsor, KFBK, for helping to spread the word!
And last, but certainly not least, we were joined by over one hundred talented volunteers that helped to make the Sacramento Walk safe and fun for everyone!
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.