The inaugural Louisiana Walk Now for Autism Speaks took place at the Audubon Park on Sunday, October 28th with over 125 teams and nearly 1,200 walkers in attendance celebrating this first year event. To date over $118,000 has been raised for the Walk with donations continuing to come in. However, the Walk goal of $80,000 was met and exceeded prior to Walk day!
Emcee Denny Schaffer of Clear Channel led the stage presentations during opening ceremonies. Jenny Longwell, the 2012 Walk Chair, welcomed the crowd with moving speeches, motivating everyone to support this great case. The Walk Chair along with the amazing Walk Committee and 175+ volunteers made sure that the day went off without a hitch.
Thank you to all our Walk Sponsors; Rouses Market, Lions Club – NOCC and Turtle Bay. We would also like to thank our In-Kind Sponsors, VooDoo BBQ & Grill, Hard Rock Café, Dunkin Donuts, ClearChannel, Fox 8, The Courier and Daily Comet and Home Depot. And a special thanks to the Alpha Xi Delta UNO and Autism Speaks U at Tulane University. These students worked tirelessly to make this day special for the families and together raised nearly $20,000 towards our overall goal.
Geoffrey the giraffe from Toys“R”Us was on hand along with fun Star Wars Characters. The Kid’s Korner included bounce houses, face painters, trick or treating, and crafts with a fun New Orleans theme. Parents received great resource information from over 20 vendors and sponsors.
The beautiful and talented Annalyse Nelson performed and sang the National Anthem along with a presentation by the US Army New Orleans Recruitment Company. DJ Justin Rome played great music to keep the crowd going and 14 Steps performed many of their talented hits. Health Commissioner, Karen DeSalvo welcomed the crowd to show her support for the autism community. Angel Dahlgren and Debi Robbins donated the gift of their talent and provided sign language interpretation from the stage. Zumba with Camilla Foreman got the crowd warmed up and fired up to get the Walk started and later had the crowd dancing and having fun.
In spite of the cool weather, a magical time was had by all with so many heart-warming stories that will stay with everyone throughout the year!
For more information about the Louisiana Walk, please contact Kathy Streng at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our Facebook Page soon for pictures from this amazing day. Thank you to everyone who came out to show their support! Louisiana is definitely listening!
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.