SAAAC’s 2nd Annual Walk-A-Thon
It’s been a rain-heavy summer in Toronto, but on August 20, the weather co-operated with SAAAC for the organization’s 2nd annual Walk-A-Thon. The warm, sunny day saw over 200 community members take part in the 3 km walk, raising $30,000 for the autism centre.
“It was an incredible event,” said Geetha Moorthy, Executive Director of SAAAC. “All proceeds from this event are going towards renovating our new autism centre, and the outpouring of support from the community has been incredible to see. We are all very grateful.”
Event Photography by: Nvmikaa Photography
Members of the Toronto Police Services were out in full support of the event, including the Mounted Unit and the Chief of Police, Mark Saunders.
Chief Saunders, whose son is diagnosed with autism, is a strong advocate for autism awareness. “I have an understanding of what it’s like, the stigmatization,” said Chief Saunders. ” And, I think the strength in the community is everyone having an understanding of this [autism], no dark corners, no one being victims. And these types of events are what make people come out and understand and celebrate.”
SAAAC’s Walk-A-Thon also has a very strong family component. It is an event that is largely planned and executed by SAAAC parents who use the Centre’s services daily. It was Joseph Vijaraj’s second time participating in the event, and with the help of his family and friends he was able to raise $4,000.
“This centre is very special to my family,” said Joseph. “My son comes here and benefits from a lot – from the painting program to employment training support to even a young adults social skills group. This place has done a lot for my son and my family, and I really wanted to support this centre as it expands and looks to help more families get help.”
The 3 km walk was capped off with some great food and treats. The Kothu Kings supplied some amazing Kottu Roti, the popular Sri Lankan street food. In addition, event sponsor Condo Geek supplied all event attendees with free ice cream and slushies. In addition to planning the event, SAAAC parents also made refreshing mango shakes to help walkers beat the heat.
“Overall, it was an incredible event,” says Amir Akbari, the event’s emcee and SAAAC’s Creative Director. “We definitely made our presence felt in the community, and I believe we did a lot today to raise autism awareness and inspire more families to not be afraid or ashamed, and to ensure that there will always be people and organizations there to support them.”
SAAAC would like to thank the amazing sponsors who made this event happen. The sponsors listed below are annual ones, working with SAAAC to make our overall mission possible. We are grateful for their generosity, their support, and most of all their community spirit which has helped transform their communities into inclusive, respectful places for all.
iConnect Mortgages – http://www.iconnectmortgages.ca/
Condogeek – http://condogeek.ca/
Lastman’s Bad Boy – https://www.badboy.ca/
Victoria Markham Square Lions Club – http://e-clubhouse.org/sites/vicmarkhamsquare/