Over 2,500 families and individuals joined Autism Speaks for its 6th annual Michigan Walk Now for Autism Speaks event. The walk took place on Saturday, September 22nd at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, MI. Walk day set-up started under rainy skies, but the Walk Committee and volunteers were reassured of a fantastic day when a double rainbow appeared! With banners lining the trees and walkways leading to the event area, walkers enjoyed a festival-type atmosphere and showed off their team spirit with shirts, signs, and banners. Together, Michigan families helped raise over $180,000 for Autism Speaks so far!
The day included an amazing community resource fair of veteran and new supporters representing 30 community organizations and service providers. Also, joining the festivities were familiar faces like Geoffrey the Toys “R” Us Giraffe, Paws from the Detroit Tigers, Cha! Cha! from the Rainforest Café, and the mascot from White Castle. Jim Madaus from CBS Detroit and Lisa Cipriano from WJR NewsTalk 760 AM were emcees for the day. NBA legend Rick Mahorn and Dennis Sampier ( a committee member, father, and employee with the Pistons) welcomed the crowd and presented Autism Speaks with a $5,000 check to show their support for autism research and awareness. Other speakers included the Autism Alliance of Michigan, and Anthony Ianni (a graduate and basketball player from Michigan State who was diagnosed at age 4) who gave inspirational words to the families that there is hope.
Along the Walk route, families enjoyed cheer stations led by our Walk day volunteers including members of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority at Western Michigan University and Autism Speaks U- University of Michigan Dearborn as well as students from Troy High School.
Thank you to the 2012 sponsors including Autism Alliance of Michigan, The Dental Team of Jamie Hafke, KPMG, Hungry Howie’s, Premium Transportation Logistics, and St. John Providence Health System. Other supporters included White Castle, Pump It Up of Shelby, Joe’s Crab Shack, and Whole Foods Market as well as our media partners CBS 62/ CW50 Detroit, Buckeye Cable Systems, and WJR NewsTalk 760 AM.
A big thank you to our Walk Committee lead by Walk Chair Scott St. Clair and Co-Chair Rich Ansell. For more pictures and information about the Walk, please visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/#!/AutismSpeaks.SEMich
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.