On a picture-perfect day on Nantucket, nearly 500 people gathered to celebrate everyone with autism and pay tribute to Autism Speaks’ co-founder, the late Suzanne Wright at the 10th Annual Nantucket Autism Speaks Walk.
Autism Speaks’ co-founder Bob Wright expressed gratitude to the Nantucket community and spoke of his wife’s significant impact and legacy. “Suzanne saw that autism has no boundaries. So she looked to build relationships with global leaders. Even during her chemo treatments she prepared her speech for the United Nations World Autism Awareness Day event. She refused to miss it.”
Suzanne Wright, who passed away just over 3 weeks ago after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last November, was also remembered by her friends and volunteer leaders, Abby Perelman and Susan Karger, who led the crowd in blowing bubbles into the morning air on Jetties Beach as a tribute to Suzanne.
“In seeking the perfect way to show our love and gratitude for Suzanne, we remember the joy she brought to people around her…her childlike enthusiasm for life and her complete and total dedication to her family,” said Perelman and Karger.
The “Share Your Heart” canvas project, which was an important element of Suzanne’s personal touch with children on the island, had its name changed on this day to “We Carry You In Our Hearts” inspired by a favorite poem of Suzanne’s written by E.E. Cummings. Led by volunteer leader Robbie Putterman, this was another opportunity for friends and participants to share their memories of Suzanne by writing personal messages on one of four canvases displayed throughout the walk site.
At the start of the walk, Bob Wright and members of his family cut the walk ribbon and followed a special vehicle adorned with an Autism Speaks flag and a picture from a previous year of Suzanne leading the walk with her grandchildren affixed to the back of the vehicle—symbolism of Suzanne still leading this event in the community which has been so supportive of those affected by autism.