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Autism Speaks Canada Walk returns and raises over $18,000

September 29, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

The 6th Annual Autism Speaks Canada Walk returned to Orangeville over the weekend, raising more than $18,000.

Approximately 150 people participated in the walk on Sunday (Sept. 25) at Fendley Park, and it far surpassed the event organizers’ initial goal of raising $13,000.

Yazmine Wilson-Daponte, this year’s Autism Speaks Canada Ambassador for Orangeville and the surrounding area, took to the microphone at the event to welcome and thank attendees, announce prizes, and share positive messages like “don’t judge someone by their cover.”

In part, the idea behind the walk is to raise money for Autism Speaks Canada (ASC), a not-for-profit organization focused on promoting the acceptance of people with autism and being a catalyst for autism research breakthroughs. ASC also works towards increasing childhood screening, timely interventions, and improving the transition to adulthood for people with autism.

The annual walk also creates a judgement free space for people with autism to express themselves and an opportunity for people in the community to show their support.

“The walk itself is to promote inclusion, spread awareness – and not only awareness, but acceptance – and bringing the community together,” said Daponte.

Community members rallied around the walk to raise funds, with Team Yaz generating $3,461 in donations, followed by JnX Foundation at $2,650 and Miggy’s Minions at $2,395.

For top individual earners, Tania Ferreira raised $2,215, followed by Tyler Clinch at $1,865 and Jennifer Tuepah at $1,700.

In addition to the walk, there were several fun activities for attendees last Sunday.

Mascots of Elmo, the Minions, Marshall from Paw Patrol, and Pita Pete from Pita Pit entertained children, race car driver Cole Quinton showed off his vehicle, emergency services provided vehicle tours, and Qwest Riders staged bikes at the walk for their fourth year.

There was also prize draws, live music, and free food/refreshments.

Daponte said Yazmine really enjoyed being the Autism Speaks Canada Ambassador this year and leading the event.

“Just overall, being with her friends that have disabilities and that are diagnosed with autism was great,” noted Daponte. “She thrives in the community, so of course, she was just so excited to be there and had so much enthusiasm.”

The local Autsim Speaks Canada Ambassador for 2023 will be announced in February of next year.

Daponte has been an organizer of the local autism walk for the past four years and said she’s looking forward to next year.

It’s not too late to donate to ASC through the Orangeville walk, visit: autismspeakscanada.akaraisin.com/ui/walk2022/g/33628 and click the “donate” button.



         


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