Walk Now for Autism Speaks poised to raise $150,000 this Sunday

Mike Lake, MP, Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont and son Jaden to lead an estimated 2,000 walkers at the 4th Annual Edmonton Capital Region Walk Now for Autism Speaks.
Local resident, Adam Biel, to complete a 24-hour marathon cycle to kick-start world record attempt at Pan-American ride.
Special tribute to First Responders planned to honour the victims and families of 9/11

EDMONTON, Sept. 9, 2011 /CNW/ - On Sunday, September 11 the largest gathering of the autism community in the Edmonton area will take place at Rundle Park when hundreds of families affected by autism will walk alongside friends, researchers, teachers, therapists to raise awareness and funds for autism research and family services programs. This event, held annually, 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.

Edmonton area MP Mike Lake and his 15 year old son Jaden will be walking along with the other families. The Lake family have been participants in all 4 walk events and Jaden is always one of the events top fund raisers.

"I walk to support my son Jaden, who has autism, and to support all the other parents of children with autism. I understand the emotional journey they travel when they first hear those word "your child has autism" and the frustration and disappointment they feel as their child waits for the needed treatment," says Mike Lake. "I am also here to support the great work of Autism Speaks Canada. The money raised today will fund world-leading research, community supports and awareness efforts that are critical to families across Canada."

Toys"R"Us® and Babies"R"Us® proudly serves as the title sponsors of Walk Now for Autism Speaks events held in over 80 cities across North America including 5 in Canadian cities. Kids will enjoy playing the Toys"R"Us Kids Activity Area and have the chance to meet their mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe!

In 2010, Autism Speaks Canada provided over $60,000 in community grants to agencies in the Edmonton area and made further commitments of over $1 million to support research initiatives for the next 4 years through its support of the Canadian Infant Sibling Study and the Autism Treatment Network-Edmonton site, both led by Dr. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, Director of the Autism Research Unit at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.

Local resident, 24 year old Adam Biel, who is planning a world record Pan-Am Cycle in March 2012 to raise funds for Autism Speaks, will begin a 24 hour cycle marathon at Fire Station #5 (Baseline/Cloverbar Road in Strathcona County) at 11 AM on Saturday and will end 24 hours later as Walkers are returning from the Rundle Park walk route at 11 AM on Sunday.

The Rotary Club of Edmonton North East is sponsoring, for the first year, the Children's Entertainment Zone. Kids of all ages will enjoy face painting, bouncy castles and more.

The Walk is chaired by local volunteers Deborah and Geoff Samagalski whose passion is fuelled by their twins sons who both live with autism. There is no registration fee and no minimum amount required to be raised to participate. Walkers can register at www.walknowforautismspeaks.ca/edmonton or on-site the day of the walk. Walkers who raise $100 or more receive an official walk t-shirt and those who raise $1000 or more are inducted into the prestigious Walk Grand Club.

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. Now, more than ever, we need answers.

WHAT: 4th Annual Edmonton Capital Region Walk Now for Autism Speaks
WHERE: Rundle Park
WHEN: Sunday September 11
8:30 AM - 12 NOON
Opening Ceremonies 9:45 AM
Walk Start 10 AM
WHY: To raise much-needed funds to support Canadian research, family services and awareness initiatives.
WHO: Mike Lake, MP Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont & Jaden Lake
Lonnie Zwaigenbaum - Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta; Director - Autism Research Unit, Glenrose Rehab Hospital; Vice-President of the Board of Director INSAR (International Society for Autism Research)
Adam Biel, cyclist
Brenda Tyson, President-Elect, Rotary Club of Northeast Edmonton
Members of Edmonton First Responder community
Military staff from CFB Edmonton
10 year old Ryan Al-Rimalwi (national anthem performer with autism)
9:45 AM Opening Ceremonies
10:00 AM      Walk start - 3 KM walk
11:00 AM Walkers return
  Adam Biel completes 24 hour cycle
11:15 AM Closing Ceremonies
12:00 Event Close

Suzanne Lanthier, Executive Director - Autism Speaks Canada
647-284-2415; slanthier@autismspeaks.org

Autism Speaks Canada
Autism Speaks Canada, together with Autism Speaks (US), forms North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has committed over $142.5 million to global research initiatives through 2014 (over $10 million in Canada) and has developed innovative new resources to support families and service providers.  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:

Media Contact
Suzanne Lanthier 
C: 647-284-2415


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