Prince Edward Kicks Off 4th Annual Ontario Walk Now for Autism

    -- Increasing Awareness about Autism and Raising Funds for Research --

    TORONTO, June 5 /CNW/ - On Sunday, June 8, 2008, His Royal Highness
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex will join more than 5,000 walkers - including
children with autism and their families - at Nathan Phillips Square, to kick
off the 4th annual Ontario Walk Now for Autism event. The event aims to
increase awareness about autism and to help raise funds for critical
scientific research. The day starts at 8:30 a.m. and includes a three
kilometer walk up University Avenue, a community resource fair, and
child-friendly activities.
    Autism affects one in every 150 children. One in 94 boys will be
affected. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than diabetes,
cancer, and AIDS combined.
    "The passion of the entire autism community - from families, to service
providers to researchers - doing whatever they can to find the missing pieces
of the autism puzzle is remarkable and we are proud to support them and Autism
Speaks Canada in their incredible effort," said Steven Wise, Chairman KRG
Children's Charitable Foundation.
    Other notable guests include Education Minister Kathleen Wynne, Children
and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews, Dr. Wendy Roberts, Co-director of
the Autism Research Unit at The Hospital for Sick Children, and Mark
Roithmayr, President of Autism Speaks. Juno-Award winning entertainer, Jack
Grunsky and his daughter, Cosima, will be performing.
    Event sponsor, KRG Children's Charitable Foundation, has pledged $2 for
every registered walker who raises $100 or more. Today's Parent Magazine is
the national media sponsor. Other sponsors include Mr. Case, Unity Life and
Chataway Financial.
    "This Walk is so important to this community. It brings families together
to build new friendships and much-needed support networks and it fosters a
hope that the money we are working hard to raise will one day bring a cure,"
says Gideon Sheps, a parent of a child with autism.

    Autism Speaks Canada is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism
spectrum disorders; funding research into the causes, prevention and
treatments and advocates for the needs of individuals with autism. To learn
more about Autism Speaks, please visit
    Since 1998 over $5 million has been granted to the Canadian autism
research community by Autism Speaks. In 2007, Toronto was named the first
international site of Autism Speaks' Autism Treatment Network - a network of
hospitals and physicians aiming to bridge gaps in knowledge and understanding
and to improve treatment for individuals with autism.

For further information:

For further information: Suzanne Lanthier, Executive Director, Autism
Speaks, Cell: (416) 388-3139 or email:; On-site
Media Contact: Melisa Richter, Cell: (416) 737-0960

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