Autism Information

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Nation's Largest Autism Walk Held Last Sunday at Jones Beach

The ninth annual Walk Now For Autism, the nation's largest grassroots autism walk program, which on Long Island, features a 3-mile walk at Jones Beach. The event raises money for autism research, advocacy, family services and awareness.

Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks, said the Long Island walk, sponsored by Toys R Us, raised $2.2 million last year - the most of any local event in the country. Even major cities trailed, with New York City at $1.2 million and Chicago at $1.6 million.

With more than 23,000 people walking yesterday and a goal of $2.3 million, Roithmayr called it the biggest autism walk of all 80 walks in the country.

Michael Giangregorio, executive chairman of the Long Island Walk Committee, noted the event, initially held in Eisenhower Park, was moved to Jones Beach three years ago to accommodate the growing crowds.

"It's bittersweet because it's great to see so many people out here today, but it also means every year more people are diagnosed with autism," said Giangregorio, whose son Nicholas was diagnosed with autism at 19 months.

Sylvia Murdolo, whose autistic son Tom, 21, is enrolled at Suffolk Community College, knows of the possibility that an autistic child can live a normal life.

"Because my son has done so well, I know there's hope," she said. "That's what I offer to the parents of little kids - that there is hope."


Post a Comment

<< Home