More than 21,000 Walkers participated in the Greater Boston Walk Now for Autism Speaks last Sunday. Rainy weather didn’t dampen spirits; the energy and enthusiasm was palpable as everyone gathered at Suffolk Downs for our 13th Annual Walk! The Walk Ceremony was led by longtime supporters Hank Morse, WROR, and Randy Price, WCVB, who both shared some of their favorite moments from previous events with Autism Speaks, many of which have also been rainy!
The community also heard from Terrique Chambers, Committee Chair and cast member on “Boston’s Finest.” Terrique’s proudest role is that of father to his sons, Jaylen and Cayden. Terrique reminded everyone that autism isn’t a death sentence and there are joys to be celebrated along with the challenges. Alec Elbert, Chief Strategy and Development Officer for Autism Speaks, also remarked on the overwhelming crowd and thanked the Greater Boston Committee and New England Chapter Board of Directors.
One of the highlights of the day was when proud Autism Sis, “Katie,” was introduced by her sister, “Brooke,” before singing an absolutely beautiful version of the National Anthem a cappella. “Team Chase” joined Committee Leadership on the stage to lead the Countdown, and #1 Fundraising New Walk Team, “Team Miles” cut the banner and lead the Walkers onto the track!
The Teamsters Local 25, Islander Hockey Club, and Revere SEPAC brought out the three largest teams! We had participation from several colleges around Boston, including Boston University, represented by the BU Men’s Hockey Team and our Autism Speaks U BU Chapter; we were also joined by students from Stonehill College, Boston College, Emerson, Endicott College, University of Rhode Island, WPI, UMass Dartmouth, and MORE!!!
Our Grand Club Members were treated to delicious salad kits from our Sponsor, Olivia’s Organics, and beautiful cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes! We honored 15 teams in Team Village for raising more than $6,000 by October 1st. Once again, congratulations and thank you to our Team Village Teams: Teamsters Local 25, Zack's Team, Caleb's Connection, Team Miles, Lyrics Champs, Legs for Luke, Team Chase, Team Katherine, Team Beacon, Team Jigsaw, Trekkers for Thomas, Team Brown/Miles for Matthew, League School, Team Finn, Declan's Disciples, Shane Train, Rob's Racers, Jadens Journey, These Legges Were Made For Walking, and Team Jaylen!
As with everything we do, it wouldn’t be possible without the overwhelming support of some of our wonderful Corporate Partners! National Walk Partners Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us brought Geoffrey to cheer on the Walk start and take photos with our families. Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor, the TJX Companies; this April, TJ Maxx collected more than $1.88M in donations during their in-store campaign for Autism Speaks!
Gold Sponsors, Uno Chicago Grill, the Boston Red Sox, Bob’s Furniture were all well represented at the Walk! Uno Chicago Grill served 13,200 slices of pizza, 10,300 hot dogs, and 350 lbs. of Caesar Salad!!! Bob’s gave Walkers a place to relax in their tent with 10 recliners. Wally the Green Monster shared some of the Red Sox’ winning spirit by greeting the Walkers as they arrived at Suffolk Downs in our registration area which was sponsored by the Evergreen Center.
Bronze Sponsor, Frito Lay, not only brought a large team of Walkers, but also donated all of the snacks and refreshments for the Walk! Thanks to Volunteer Shirts Sponsors, Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Live Nation, all of our more than 300 volunteers were easily identified in the crowds! And of course, our favorite radio station, 105.7 WROR, was helping us celebrate by taking silly photos with our Walkers and Teams. National Partner Lindt Chocolate returned as Presenting Sponsor of the Resource Fair, which was also sponsored by Shire. The wonderful staff of Beacon Services entertained our families with arts and crafts, sensory activities, games and more in the Kids’ Korner. Thank you to the Broad Spectrum Project for being our Official Walk Photographers! Walk Teasers have been posted on facebook and the rest of the photos are coming soon!
The Boston community has been through a lot in the past year, but as Terrique Chambers’ shirt proudly proclaimed, “Boston is Autism Strong.” To date, the event raised more than $910,000 in support of Autism Speaks’ mission to fund research, increase awareness and family services and advocate for individuals with autism and their families. We continued to collect donations through the end of the year, so please don’t hesitate to be in touch if our office can support your team’s fundraising or event.
SHOP WITH US! We’ll be at C. Wonder at the Derby Street Shoppes in Hingham, this Sunday, October 20 from 1:30-3:30pm for a Shopping Event! C. Wonder is offering a 15% discount and gifts with purchases over $100. C. Wonder is donating 10% of the proceeds of our shopping event to Autism Speaks, so come join us for an afternoon of shopping with light snacks and refreshment. They will also be embroidering our puzzle piece on shirts and bags, with $1 from every embroidery going back to Autism Speaks! For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to get more involved with the Greater Boston Committee, please email email@example.com or fill out our Committee Survey to be added to the list. Help us Drive Autism Awareness! Download your application for a Massachusetts Specialty License Plate today!
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.