Saturday, September 26, 2009

Autism Walks

One of Kelly's friends is involved in the effort to help those with autism, and asked her to participate in the "Walk Now For Autism" fundraiser at Stanley Park in Westfield. I was invited by loaded.

I had never heard of this event and wasn't really expecting anything too big to see; I envisioned a few dozen people doing a jovial little jaunt around the park. But when we got there, we saw throngs of people walking along the sidewalks, and we were directed to park our car about a mile down the road, and take one of the shuttle buses back to the starting area....

This was to be no small fundraiser. In fact, it turned out to be an event with some three to four thousand participants.

Most were formed up in 'teams' of various size. Many were apparently family and friends, with t-shirts named for a specific person with autism that they were walking for...

...some of the teams were named for the general cause of autism, and several sponsored by local businesses. As with any large event, some brought their own particular sense of style.

After everyone was registered and massed in the assembly area, the walk began, with the long column enthusiastically stepping out under an archway of balloons.

Kelly and the bloggerette filed in with her friend and were swept off,

...while I flanked along the train of people, taking pictures.

The walkers exited to the street and made a wide loop around the soccer fields before coming back in to the park.

I cut across the fields to intercept the main body of walkers on the return leg.

Here, the long column had widened and amassed into a long, multicolored flood of people...

...that just kept coming...

...and coming. In waves.

It was an impressive display of local volunteerism, support, and sponsorship for a developmental disorder that affects many millions of people.

...and I was proud to see my own teammates participating in such a worthy event.

Kelly's friend Pam Herveaux and her team, which raised over $2000 dollars, (a considerable amount), was awarded "Grand Club" membership for their effort.

The column triumphantly came filing back into the starting area, for food, music and celebration.

According to Autism Speak's website, total donations from the event totalled over $82,000.

For people dealing with autism, it's a step in the right direction.


Anonymous said...

My sons and I went to Stanley Park for a walk, but we ended up meeting the most incredible people in the world. I stood and watched the parade of thousands of people walking past and I cried. We are waiting on a prognosis of my son's issues as I write. I did a whole lot of asking in the community out reach tent. They were wonderful and had lots of information for me to advocate for my son. Thank YOU!

Tony said...

It was moving, I agree.