'Walk Now for Autism Speaks' set for Sunday at Idlewild
By Cami Dibattista
Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Approximately 1,500 individuals are expected to participate in Walk Now for Autism Speaks — an event being held Sunday at Idlewild Park.
The community is invited to participate in the family-friendly event while supporting Autism Speaks — an agency devoted to the advocacy and awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Registration for the event begins at 1 p.m. in the parking lot and the walk begins at 3 p.m. Admission is free. Participants will walk through StoryBook Forest in support of ASD — the fastest-growing serious developmental disorder in the United States today, according to Autism Speaks.
“The walk is our single most powerful force to fund the vital research that will lead us to the answers we need,” said Lisa Maloney, Pittsburgh Walk manager.
Last year, the Laurel Highlands chapter of the organization earned more than $83,000 and they have set a goal of $85,000 for this year's walk.
The event, which has been held at Idlewild Park annually since 2008, offers an opportunity for those affected by the disorder to interact. Refreshments and entertainment will be provided and a resource fair will share information about services available to those on the autism spectrum. A children's area complete with gross motor activities, bubbles and balls will be set up.
“It is a way for us to provide awareness to the community,” said Kelly Most, Autism support teacher with the Southmoreland School District and member of the planning committee. Most added she feels the event allows the community to support children with ASD on a personal level.
“Many individuals participating in Walk Now do so in teams formed of families, friends and businesses, but you don't have to be part of a team to participate,” said co-chair Rebecca Quel.
Quel has been involved with Autism Speaks since 2007 — first as a walker, then a member of the planning committee and as co-chair of the event for the past three years.
“It's important to me, because I have three children with autism. Autism Speaks supports research and advocacy, which may help to make the future a little bit better for my boys,” Quel said.
On behalf of her team, Monkey Business, Quel will be raffling off approximately 50 gift baskets at Latrobe Hospital Thursday and Friday. Baskets include everything from a Kindle HD, Pirate tickets, Penguins' gear, Vera Bradley and Brighton items and gift cards to local restaurants.
“The day of the walk is just wonderful,” said co-chair of the event Bridget Fulmer, “It's so nice to see the families getting together.”
Fulmer, who has been working with ASD children for 17 years, said she thinks the event is a great way to support Autism Speaks.
“We need more awareness about ASD. Seventeen years ago one in 500 children were diagnosed, and today it's one in 88. There's still so much we don't know about it,” Fulmer said.
Many local businesses help out by being a financial sponsor, donating items such as refreshments or forming a team to walk. However, sponsors are still needed to make the event a success. The organization is seeking hot dogs and buns and gift cards or monetary donations to purchase these items, said Fulmer.
Giant Eagle in Ligonier is participating in the event by selling puzzle pieces, an official symbol of autism awareness, to display in the store.
“It's a great cause,” said Matt Faccenda, store leader. “We always like to participate any way we can.”
The success of Walk Now for Autism Speaks is evident in the growing amount of participants. “It gets bigger every year,” said Fulmer.
Educating the community about ASD is an important step toward helping families affected by the disorder.
“With understanding comes acceptance,” said Most.
Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Holiday spirit abounds at Scottdale businesses
- Geyer’s ‘Nutcracker’ tradition continues
- West Overton invites visitors for glimpse of Christmas past
- Scottdale Borough Council OKs budget with no tax hike