Almost 2,000 families and individuals joined Autism Speaks for its 9th Annual Southwest Florida Walk Now for Autism Speaks event. The Walk took place on Saturday, November 5th at Estero Community Park in Estero, FL. With a cool breeze and sunny skies, families covered the park with tents, lawn chairs, strollers, blankets, and signs to raise autism awareness and celebrate their children. Together, Southwest Florida families helped raise nearly $80,000 for Autism Speaks.
Volunteers from all over Southwest Florida showed up bright and early Saturday morning, along with Dunkin’ Donuts that provided over 50 dozen donuts and 20 gallons of coffee for the early risers. The day included familiar faces like Geoffrey the Toys “R” Us Giraffe, Everblades mascot Swampee and performances by Tracee’s Dance Impact as well as the FGCU Dancing Divas. Our new partner, South Florida Ford came out that morning with three beautiful cars to display covered in Autism Speaks magnets! The emcees for the day were B103.9’s Joe Winner & Lindsay Liepman & Rob Spicker from WINK News. With local music teacher, Lindsey Graham singing the national anthem and Damion’s Team counting down, Team Summit cut the ribbon to kick off the Walk! Afterwards, the walkers enjoyed hot dogs, carnival foods, games, bounce houses, building projects for the kids provided by Home Depot, and music from B103.9.
The community resource fair represented community partners including Adonis Autism Association, Autismthings.com, CARD, Eden Autism Services, FGCU Patch, Florida Inclusion Network, Foundation for Wellness Professionals, Harbour Heights Charities, Island Coast Pediatrics, Naples Community Hospital, Ousterhout & McKinney, Peace by Piece, The Puzzling Piece, Special Equestrians, SPOT Therapy Associates, Surf and Song Festival, and Volleyfrog Florida Club!
Thank you to the 2011 sponsors including South Florida Ford, Walgreens, Lee Memorial Children’s Hospital, Hodges University, and Beef o Brady’s. Media sponsors included Southwest Florida Parent & Child Magazine, News-Press Media Group, WINK TV, and Beasley Broadcast Group Inc.
A big thank you to our Walk Committee and volunteers! For more pictures and information about the Walk, please visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AutismSpeaks.SWFla