Orange County CA - Walk Now for Autism 2008





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Published on Nov 20, 2008

Orange County Walk Raises $330,000, Despite Wildfires

The week leading up to the 5th annual Orange County Walk Now for Autism, wildfires ravaged the area. Despite the tragedy in the area, 3,500 people walked on Sunday, Nov. 16, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., representing a 28% growth in team participation over last years event. The walkers, on more nearly 450 teams, raised over $330,000.

Ella Duffner, an Orange County child with autism, sang the national anthem and the Cub Scouts led the Pledge of Allegiance. Local band Pinch Me performed a full musical set including the tune Calling All Angels as the Walk began. Walkers also enjoyed performances by The Conductors, Mission Viejo high schools drum line and the Songleaders.

Actor/model Jason Olive served as emcee of the days event. Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president of programs and services and Scott Leibowitz, Autism Speaks national director of corporate relations honored Doug Braun, vice president of global sales and marketing for Nikken International, the Corporate Visionary Sponsor of the Orange County Walk. Nikken has been a major contributor to Autism Speaks and its Walk Now for Autism for more than two years.

The Walk hosted a resource fair which showcased 46 companies and organizations including Train 4 Autism, The Reading and Language Center, New Vista School and Music Therapy Services of Orange County.

A number of generous sponsors contributed to the success of the Orange County Walk Now for Autism, especially National Sponsors Toys"R"Us, Parade Magazine and Nutricia North America. Additional thanks to Corporate Visionary Sponsor Nikken, and local sponsors Embassy Suites of Anaheim North, Bilek Racing, 714 Tickets, and Jack FM. Special thanks to Walk Chairs Diane Vitto and Lauren Christ-Vitto for ensuring the success of the event.

This week has been a devastating time for the Orange County community. We understand that many of us are focusing on the immediate needs of our families right now may not have chosen to attend the Orange County Walk. Please know that people from all parts of the Autism Speaks family continue to send their thoughts and prayers to all of you. Autism Speaks is part of a consortium of leading autism organizations called Autism Cares, which is actively seeking families affected by autism who are also victims of the California wildfires, and invites them to call the Autism Response Team at 1-888-Autism2 or e-mail autismcares@autismspeaks.org to receive assistance. Families may also register directly at www.autismcares.org.

Visit the Orange County Walk page or go to the Walk Now for Autism site to find a walk in your area.

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