More than 20,000 people took part in the Chicago Walk at Soldier Field on Saturday, May 17, raising more than $1,019,943 and counting for Autism Speaks
Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined the Chicago Walk for the first time this year. The Mayor welcomed the crowd from the main stage during opening ceremonies, expressing to the families that we are all in this together. Eric Chern, husband to Chicagoland Board of Directosr Vice Chair Laurie Chern, worked to get the Mayor to commit to attend this year and we couldn't have accomplished this without him. It was a treat for the families at Soldier Field. After his comments the Mayor stood by the stage and greated families and took pictures.
Congressman Mike Quigley attended and said a few words about the importance of autism legislation. He committed to the crowed that he is going to look at CARA and TRI-CARE and add his name. He also that this coming Tuesday he will wear the Puzzle Piece Pin on the floor of the house and speak to the house floor about this weekend's walk in Chicago and about the importance of a autism legislation.
Congressman Quigley cut the ribbon welcoming the families into a new area of the Resource Fair this year called Independence Corner. This area highlights young adults on the spectrum who are using their talents in arts and crafts to create small business opportunities for themselves. This area was a huge highlight of the day.
Sarah and Shane Hamilton,Walk Co-Chairs for 2013 and 2014, brought their son, Cole, on stage to the story of why they walk. Shane spoke of the importance of remembering what our children can do and focusing on how amazing they are.
It was a wonderful day for our Team Village members who came out in huge numbers all proudly wearing their team t-shirts.
[slideshow:2, order=top, width=585, height=440, img=|/sites/default/files/images/mayor_emanuel_on_stage.jpg|||Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressed the crowd||,img=|/sites/default/files/images/eric-chern-and-mayor-emanuel-2.jpg|||Mayor Emanuel\, right\, greeted families as Eric Chern\, left\, looked on||,img=|/sites/default/files/images/indepedence-corner.jpg|||Congressman Mike Quigley\, third from right\, at Independence Corner||,img=|/sites/default/files/images/shane-sarah-and-cole-hamilton.jpg|||Chicago Walk Chairs Sarah and Shane Hamilton with their son Cole||,img=|/sites/default/files/images/ikes-minions-team.jpg|||Ike's Minions\, one of the Walks top teams with more than 70 members and more than \$5000 raised||,img=|/sites/default/files/images/gabriels-horn-chicago-slideshow.jpg|||Team Gabriel's Horn at the Chicago Walk||]
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.