Posted by: aptapia | August 6, 2010

2010 Greater Boston Walk Now for Autism Speaks Kickoff

Submitted by Deirdre Legge, Co-Chair of the Greater Boston Walk Now for Autism Speaks

AS President, Mark Roithmayr with Walk Co-Chairs Meghan Jordan and Deirdre Legge

I am still all aglow from last week’s Greater Boston Kick Off reception. It was truly an extraordinary night and one that I will never forget. We celebrated, we laughed, we cried, we cheered, we reminisced, we reflected, we welcomed newcomers, we hugged our returning friends, we embraced our autism community and sponsors, we gave thanks to those that make our Walk possible, we expressed hope for the future, we got energized for this year’s Walk and we raised awareness.  Does it get any better than that?  I think not!

You see this Kick Off was extra special for many reasons.  It was a celebration of our last 10 years of walking in Boston.  10 years.  Seems incredible because the last decade has flown by and my, how far we have come…and yet how far we have to go.  But we won’t do it alone because we have each other and because we have hope.  Another reason this Kick Off celebration was one for the memory books was because just the day prior the Massachusetts House of Representatives had unanimously approved our Autism Insurance Reform Bill.  Did I mention we did a lot of cheering, hooting and hollering?  We Bostonians know how to celebrate!

Each and every one of our speakers gave rousing, funny, and beautifully touching speeches.  From House Representative, autism champion and legislator extraordinaire Barbara L’Italien, to inspirational mom and fundraiser extraordinaire Kristen Zechello, to mom, attorney and advocate extraordinaire, Ann Guay, to Larry Cancro, New England Chapter Board President and inaugural walk member extraordinaire, to having the one and only Mark Roithmayr attending- it was thrilling beyond all measure!

One of the most memorable moments for me was at the end of the evening.  I was thanking and hugging Kristen Zechello and a husband and wife approached us to thank Kristen for her amazing and powerful speech.  This couple’s son had just been diagnosed and they were unsure of whether they should have come to Kick Off with all that was going on at home.  As the night came to an end they expressed how extremely glad they were that they attended our Kick Off event and that by doing so, they no longer feel so alone and scared.  It was comforting for them to know that there are other parents out there who know what they are going through.  The woman said, “I feel so energized!”

The venue was perfect and the vibe even better. I believe in the power of optimism, expressing gratitude, sharing information and feeling hope, and that positive emotions and attitude drive our desire to walk the walk, talk the talk and raise awareness.  I believe in our families.

I got choked up as I walked away and it reinforced to me why I feel a call to action, why I volunteer and why I walk for my beautiful and courageous son. Our autism community and the Greater Boston Walk Now for Autism Speaks is so very special and dear to me.

I think our Master of Ceremonies, local WCVB-TV Anchor Randy Price, said it best when he was reflecting on last year’s Walk and looking forward to this year’s when he said, “Our skies will open up with hope!”  Given last year’s 30 degree weather with sideways rain, sleet, ice and whipping Nor’Easter wind, we hope our skies will be sunny!  But we Bostonian’s are a hearty bunch and we can take whatever comes our way.   Agreeable weather would be nice, though.  Our incredible planning committee is on it…just saying…



  1. I would like to walk in Boston, MA. What day and date and time ,place,will it be held on.Thank You, Bob

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