The excitement was unbridled and the emotions were real. We made a strong stand together as one in our fight for autism awareness and the need for more autism research. It was a huge party but it was a party for cause. It was our 9th annual Carolinas Walk Now for Autism Speaks!
This year our Carolinas Walk took place on October 8, 2011 at the one and only Charlotte Motor Speedway located in Concord, North Carolina. Registration opened at 8:30am and we started our Walk at 10:00am with over 8,500 Walkers from all over the Carolinas and beyond! We had over 370 Walk teams who joined in our party on a perfect Carolina day.
Special guests speakers included Tom Tillis, North Carolina Speaker of the House, and Otis from the from Kiss 95.1 morning OShow, who’s niece was recently diagnosed. Otis shared his heart-felt story of why he walks for her and everyone else affected by autism. Debbie and Charlie from WSOC 103.7 and Jamie Boll from WBTV served as our masters of ceremonies. This year the entertainers included Geoffrey the Giraffe from Toys"R"Us, Charlotte Checkers’ Check Mates, Charlotte Bobcats Lady Cats, Wayne and Gina Stewart Band, Charlotte ATA, and Mr. Nigel and Friends Band who kept the crowd dancing even after the Walk concluded! We had 35 amazing resource fair vendors sharing their expertise with everyone in attendance. This year we also had the Denny Hamlin Fed Ex 400 Car which was a big hit with our Walkers. Also new to this year’s Walk was the introduction of the Team Village with 15 qualifying teams who raised over $3,000 and had over 10 Walkers each. We look forward to expanding this next year with even more teams.
This years Carolinas Sponsors included: National: Toys"R"Us & Babies"R"Us, Corporate Visionary: Babson Capital. Gold: Hearst Corporation, SPX, Wells Fargo. Silver: Piedmont Natural Gas, Belk Bowl, TIAA-CREF. Bronze: BB & T, Novant Health, Bank of America, Bojangles, Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital, Panera, Nascar Foundation, CATS Care, SunTrust, Landscape Structures, Charlotte Motor Speedway. Day-Of Sponsorships: Lance, Compass Group, CNP Technologies, Technekes. This years Media Parters included: CBS RADIO, WBTV, WSOC 103.7 FM, WFNZ, Kiss 95.1, ESPN Radio, Kidsville News. We are so grateful for all of our sponsors and media partners who participated in our special day.
More than any of the above, we would like to thank each of our Walkers who fundraised and came out to support our families. We walked, we sang, we danced and we raised money for Autism Speaks! This year’s Carolinas Walk has raised over $414,598 dollars and we are still encouraging teams to help that number grow even more! We are committed to our cause because unfortunately, autism is not curing itself!
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.