Cambridge Family Top Fund Raisers in 1st Annual London Walk Now for Autism Speaks Canada.

Award winning children's entertainer Jack Grunsky and team players from London Knights to join participants as part of largest movement of the autism community in Canada.

LONDON, ON, June 10, 2011 /CNW/ - On Sunday June 12, families affected by autism will walk alongside friends, teachers, therapists to raise awareness and funds for autism research and family services programs. This event, held in Victoria Park in the heart of London, is a unique FUNdraising event, providing a fun and safe day for families who are impacted by autism - a chance for kids with autism to just be kids. For the second straight year, Toys"R"Us® and Babies"R"Us® proudly serves as the national sponsors of Walk Now for Autism Speaks events held in over 80 cities across North America including 5 in Canadian cities.

Autism is the fastest growing serious developmental disorder among children in North America. 1 out of every 110 children will be diagnosed with autism. 1 in 70 boys. Rates of diagnosis have increased 57% from 2002 to 2006 and an astounding 600% in the last 20 years. There are 5 Walk events for Autism Speaks in Canada. Funds raised at the walk will support much needed Canadian research, awareness and family service programs.

Cambridge mom Lisa Rocha will be walking for her son who was diagnosed almost 4-1/2 years ago. For Lisa, when Logan was initially diagnosed, "it felt as if someone had punched me as hard as they could". At the time, she did not know what that meant or how to make it better. Today, Lisa can share that her son's autism has made her a better person. Daily, he shows her the value of hard work and perseverance; that a smile and "I love you" can turn around any bad day; and to not let society's expectations define you or prevent you from doing anything.

Lisa, and her husband, Gene will walk in honour of their hero, their son Logan. They have participated in the last 4 Toronto walks, raising over $13,000 to-date and currently sit at the top spot in fund raising Teams for the London Event. She is thrilled to be a part of the 1st Annual London Walk Now for Autism Speaks.

The Walk is chaired by Londoner, Steve Hunter, whose passion is fuelled by the love of his nephew Hunter Bondy who lives in Windsor.

Community supporters and sponsors include: New Era Grafix, Jim Bob Ray's and Joe Kools, and Puresource.

Sunday's Schedule of Activities:

8:30 AM - EVENT OPENS:

  • All inflatable's and activities are up and running
  • Registration and T-shirts booth open
  • T-Shirts signed by members of the London Knights Stephen Sanza and Reid McNeill
  • Toys"R"Us fun zone tent
  • Photos with Sir Scores a Lot; Mr. Kool Aid & Star Wars Storm Troopers

9:10 AM - Jack Grunsky performs
9:45 AM - Mitchell Daniels, 13 year-old who lives with autism performs
9:50 AM - Opening Ceremonies & National Anthem
10:00 AM - Walk start (on a short, set route around the Park)
10:45 AM - Fun and entertainment continues with another set from Jack Grunsky
11:30 AM - Closing Ceremonies
11:45 AM - Hot Dog BBQ at Jim Bob Ray's

Autism Speaks Canada Autism Speaks Canada, together with Autism Speaks (U.S.), forms North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $142.5 million to global research initiatives through 2014 (over $9 million in Canada) and developing innovative new resources for families. In 2010 Autism Speaks Canada granted over $500,000 to agencies and organizations across Canada through its Family Services Grants Program. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.  Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America, including 5 in Canada. To learn more about Autism Speaks Canada visit www.autismspeaks.ca; to learn more about the Canadian walks visit  www.walknowforautismspeaks.ca

SOURCE Autism Speaks Canada

For further information:

To arrange an interview contact: Lisa Wedmann, Manager Web and Communications, Autism Speaks Canada: lisa.wedmann@autismspeaks.org or 647-284-4175


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