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The Walk for Autism: My Family Tradition

Jun 28, 2011 at 4:20 PM Chime in now

Walk for autism

Katrina Carefoot

By Katrina Carefoot

This past weekend, me and more than 2,500 other people took part in the 7th Annual Walk For Autism in Toronto. Together we raised more than $460,000 for Autism Speaks Canada, an organization dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

This was my third year participating in the walk. When my son, Max, was diagnosed in December 2008 at 32 months of age, my family and friends formed Team Maxwell. The walk has become a very important event for me, as I believe it is important to "show up" and be part of the greater autism movement. And being surrounded by so many people united in finding a cure for autism helps remind me that my family is not the only family battling autism. The positive energy of this community coming together to be both exhilarating and uplifting.

Each year, the Walk For Autism attracts more walkers. I find this to be both wonderful and saddening. Wonderful because the more people who help bring awareness to this cause the better. Saddening because it means that since the last walk, many more children have been diagnosed with this devastating disorder.

This year, for the first time, there were walks in Montreal and London, as well as Toronto. With walks in Edmonton and Vancouver still to come, Autism Speaks is truly bringing national awareness to this cause which is near and dear to my heart.

The statistics for autism are mind blowing:

- 1 out of every 110 children will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Four times as many boys than girls will be diagnosed: 1 in 70.
- Autism is more prevalent than paediatric cancer, AIDS and diabetes combined.
- It can cost $80 - $100K each year to treat someone with autism.

If you know someone with autism, I hope you'll join us on next year's Walk For Autism. Those of you living in Edmonton and Vancouver can still participate this year!

How do you find support, community and inspiration for you and your family? Chime in below!

Katrina Carefoot blogs at ficklefeline.ca, and is documenting her autistic son Max's journey through early intervention and intensive therapy.

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