Posted by: Autism Speaks | September 30, 2010

2010 British Columbia Walk Now for Autism Speaks

Addison Johnston, son of TRU Canada’s Shane Johnston cuts the ribbon to start the Walk.

Despite days of rain, rain and more rain leading up to the 3rd Annual BC Walk Now for Autism Speaks Canada, it was a ‘no umbrellas needed’ Walk day for the estimated 3,000 participants who came together to raise $190,000 (and counting!) to support Canadian research, family services and awareness initiatives.

Bruce McLaren and Grandson Carter present cheque for $24,000 on behalf of Home Restaurants

Walk MC, Randene Neill of Global BC welcomed walkers, sponsors and 17 local resource fair participants. Rob Wilkins, VP of Presenting Sponsor Scotiabank was joined on stage with Brian Covernton and his family and fellow walkers from “Find a Cure for Patrick” team. Bruce McLaren, President of Home Restaurants presented a cheque for $24,000 to Autism Speaks Canada – representing Home’s incredibly successful 2nd year fund raising campaign and proudly announced that four generations of the McLaren family would be walking in honour of Team Carter.

Mike Lake and son Jaden – one of Autism Speaks Canada’s Top Edmonton Teams – fly in that morning from Edmonton to support the BC event. Mike and Jaden – who has autism – spoke to the crowds and congratulated the BC families for their work in raising awareness and much needed funds for research.

Noah, diagnosed with leukemia in March gets a “group hug” from Randene and the BC Walkers

An autism community “group hug” was delivered to Noah Milau who lives with autism and was diagnosed with leukemia this past March. Noah’s father Nick – one of the event’s top fund raisers reported that Noah was winning his battle with cancer and encouraged everyone to support autism research so he, along with the thousands and thousands of others living with autism, could win the autism battle as well.

Addison Johnston served as the official ribbon cutter to start the Walk. Addison, who lives with autism, is the son of Shane Johnston, Toys’R’Us Canada’s Regional Loss Prevention Manager for Western Canada – the Walk’s Title Sponsor.  Cambree Lovesee wowed the crowd with her rendition of the 2010 Olympic anthem “Believe”.  Bob the Brown Bear and BC Lion’s Leo were on hand to “High 5” the walkers leaving the historic natural grass baseball field at Nat Bailey Stadium.

During the closing ceremony inspiring messages were delivered from Chris McIntosh  from Victoria, BC diagnosed with autism at age 50 and Anita Hesler – team captain of Amber’s Angels who roused the crowd with a call to action to find the missing pieces of the autism puzzle.

Walk co-Chairs Claire and Dimitri Apostolopoulos proudly listened to their son, Nick, who thanked everyone for coming. John Carinha (who is also running in the ING NY Marathon for Team Autism Speaks in early November) was joined by his family and friends from the B-Team as to honour Brandon, their inspiration.

Thanks to everyone for ending the Canadian Walk season on a high note!  For more information about this or any of our Canadian Walks, please visit our Facebook page at

Ambers Angels team raises eyebrows and awareness along Walk


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