Posted by: Autism Speaks | November 2, 2011

Arizona’s Autism Walk Unites Thousands for a Memorable Day!

Doug Sanders, Sprouts president, along with his wife Cindy and son Ethan, present over $1 million to Walk Chairs Lynn and Neil Balter, SARRC President Jeri Kendle and Autism Speaks President Mark Roithmayr

The sixth annual Arizona Walk Now for Autism Speaks brought together more than 15,000 walkers at Tempe Beach Park for a memorable day of awareness and family-friendly fun! And, thanks to the tremendous leadership and hard work of our 2011 Walk Co-Chairs Neil and Lynn Balter, and the entire Walk committee, the Walk will raise more than $1.5 million for important programs and scientific research underway at Autism Speaks and SARRC!

 “This year’s level of enthusiasm and giving surpassed all of our wildest dreams,” says 2011 Arizona Walk Chairman Neil Balter. Neil and his wife Lynn have been involved with Autism Speaks and SARRC since their son Jack was diagnosed with autism in 2006. “Autism Speaks and SARRC are both dynamic organizations who, together, give one strong voice to autism in our community,” Neil continued. “Their ability to work together and unite our entire community with this single walk event is truly a testament to their commitment to helping children in Arizona and beyond.”

The Arizona Walk’s Visionary Sponsor Sprouts Farmers Market raised more than $1,076,000 for the walk, through an in-store awareness and fundraising campaign, as well as an industry-wide vendor outreach effort. “This success of Sprouts’ awareness and fundraising efforts to help support the walk belongs to our employees, vendor partners and, most importantly, our customers, who raised over $400,000 alone from donations collected in-store,” says Sprouts President Doug Sanders. More than 1 million customers visit a Sprouts store each week, also making awareness a critical part of the grocer’s support of the event. This is the second year Sprouts has served as the event’s Visionary Sponsor; last year, the grocer’s President Doug Sanders, whose son has autism, also served as the event’s 2010 Walk Chairman, along with his wife, Cindy.

For more photos of Walk day, visit our Facebook page at

The ACES Rising Stars was this year’s top Service Provider team in fundraising. They were joined by more than 50 local service providers who together brought dozens of different resources to our Arizona families.


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