On Saturday, October 26, Broward celebrated the 2013 Walk Now for Autism Speaks at Nova Southeastern University, in the City of Davie. It was the most successful Walk to date with over 5,000 walkers.
Our success would have not been possible without the leadership and vision of Connie Ribeaux, Walk Chair, the support of Felipe Basulto, Corporate Chair and the dedication and tireless effort of Frank Nieves, Logistics Chair.
It was a day full of fun and entertainment with an atmosphere of excitement.
Honorary Walk Chair Dr. George L Hanbury II, Walk Chairs Connie Ribeaux and Felipe Basulto, and Sam Gelfand lead the Broward Walk Now for Autism Speaks in a blue convertible Ford Mustang, joined by over 5,000 attendees who celebrated the highly-anticipated event. Walkers were cheered on and celebrated by the FAU Alpha Xi Delta sorority as they crossed the Start and Finish Line balloon arches. The Broward Walk included over 14 service providers and fun-filled children’s entertainment like bounces houses, sports teams mascots and dancers, a petting zoo by the Native Village, and musical performances on stage. The Walk featured a heartwarming speech about Autism Speaks by self-advocate Sam Gelfand, the Pledge of Allegiance performed by Military Color Guard and the National Anthem performed by Nanette Molina.
Walkers enjoyed a variety of food and snacks at the Joe’s Crab Shack Hospitality Tent, as well as delicious chocolate milk and activities with Nesquik and breakfast biscuits from Chick-Fil-A.
This great event would not have been possible without the support and dedication of our volunteers who are the heart and soul of our Walk – Melodie Rasumoff, William Solis, Javier Sanchez, Amandah Goldsmith, Aaron Hackman, Melissa Chong, Crystal Echevarria, Nohra Auriemma, Brian Vinson, Aleida Lanza, Lynn Larose, Sharon Sullivan, Fatima Kierski, Dylan Troiano, Georgette Joseph, Shahidah Walker, Steven Digiulio, and Dianne Orr.
We would like to give a very special thank you to Nova Southeastern University for embracing Autism Speaks and giving our Walk a welcome home. Many thanks also to our Walk Emcees, Sonia Parissos, Ron Phillips and Adam Berg, as well as our stage presenters – President and CEO of Nova Southeastern University Dr. George L Hanbury II, Retail Market Manager of TD Bank Felipe Basulto, Chairman of the South Florida Chapter Board Albert Lopez, student Sam Gelfand, State Representative Joe Gibbons, Broward County Commissioner Dale V. C. Holness, Broward County School Board member Patti Good, City of Davie Mayor Judy Paul, and all government officials present.
Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to our wonderful Corporate Sponsors who made this Walk possible by donating money and many of them also formed teams. Our National Sponsors are Toys R Us, Babies R Us. Our Visionary Sponsor is South Florida Ford. Our corporate sponsors include TD Bank, FPL, FedEx, The Tire Choice, Baptist Health South Florida, Publix Super Markets. Our community partners include The Puerto-Rican & Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Broward County, Synergy Labs, Joe’s Crab Shack, and Broward County Public Schools. A special thank you to local sports teams for participating at the Walk: the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers soccer team, the Florida Panthers, the Miami Marlins, and the Miami Heat.
Most of all we thank our families for coming out to support and Walk Now for Autism Speaks and that someone you love and care about! For or more pictures and information about the Walk, please visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/autismspeaks.broward.
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.