The 3rd Annual North Shore Walk Now for Autism Speaks took place on Sunday, April 28th at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois. Under the leadership of the Savitz Family (Spencer, Tyler, Amy and Stuart) over 2,500 walkers made up of 101 teams and 40 volunteers joined us for the 2.5 mile loop around the Garden. At days end, the North Shore Walk had raised over $208,000!
In 2008, Spencer began organizing a team to participate in the Chicago Walk Now for Autism Speaks in honor of his younger brother, Tyler. Team Tyler quickly became the top fundraising team in Chicago, and Spencer became the top fundraiser in Chicago and one of the top fundraisers in the country.
In 2011, Spencer decided to take his participation to the next level by organizing a Walk in his community. He launched the North Shore Walk, which welcomed more than 400 walkers and raised over $180,000 in its first year. In 2012, the North Shore Walk had over 1100 walkers and raised over $210,000. This year the number of participants doubled again to 2500. In just six years, Team Tyler has raised over $800,000 for Autism Speaks.
The Walk Day started out with a bit of drizzle but cleared just in time for the walkers to arrive. Walkers enjoyed music provided by Famos DJ Entertainment and resource exhibitors from the neighboring communities. Families had the option to retreat to a staffed quiet tent if need be. It was wonderful to see all of the creative team t-shirts and meet all of the wonderful families.
Spencer received a proclamation from Bob and Suzanne Wright and Liz Feld naming the day “Spencer Savitz Day”. He was also presented with the first Spencer Savitz Leadership Award, created to honor the leadership that Spencer has demonstrated in furthering the mission of Autism Speaks.
Since Spencer will be graduating from high school this spring and moving on to Stanford, he has enlisted the help of three members of his team to take over his post in 2014. We had the opportunity to meet Brett, Dylan and Jack and they got to say a few words to the crowd. Spencer pledged to continue his commitment to raising awareness and helping the individuals and families impacted by Autism. We have a feeling that there will be a new Walk at Stanford next year.
Congratulations to the all of our teams, especially our top teams: Team Tyler, Team Miles, Team Florek, Ravinia School, Team Tommy and Mom’s On a Mission. Very special thanks also to our presenting sponsor E Street Denim, as well as our other sponsors: Coco Pazzo, First Bank of Highland Park, CDW, Audi Exchange, Fiduciary Management and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Also thanks to Milosh Kosanovich Photography.
A huge thank you to Spencer, the Savitz family, every team, walker, sponsor and volunteer who made this third annual Walk a huge success!
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.