Monday’s Walk for Autism in Salmon Arm will feature two walking routes: one around McGuire Lake and one to the wharf. - File photo

Join the Salmon Arm Autism Walk Monday

Event is to create awareness and understanding while raising funds for research and supports

You can do a couple of great things tomorrow.

Help raise funds for research and supports for families, while getting exercise outdoors.

That’s possible by joining the Salmon Arm Autism Walk which takes place on Monday, April 2 from 1 to 3

p.m. It’s a family-friendly event to create awareness and understanding in conjunction with International Autism Awareness Day.

Rob Hicks with Geared-4-Autism and Pearl Hiemstra from Focus Ability WorkAble Solutions have teamed up with the BC chapter of Autism Speaks to kick off the first year of this event.

“Both Rob and I are parents of children with autism and we have a dedicated group of parent volunteers here in Salmon Arm that are helping us with communications and supports for our parent support group (Shuswap Children’s Association), our local School District #83 and our local community supports to help us get the word out about our first walk here in Salmon Arm,” said Hiemstra in a news release.

There will be two walking routes, one around McGuire Lake and the other out to the wharf, providing a selection of a 1.5-kilometre, 3.5-k or, together, as a 5-k route.

In years past, families have had to travel to the Vernon, Kelowna or Kamloops ‘Light it up Blue’ events.

The Light it up Blue initiative was created by Autism Speaks in 2010 and now sees hundreds of thousands of buildings, landmarks and communities in 170 countries light up blue in recognition of people living with autism.

Most people aren’t aware that one in 68 children born today will be diagnosed with autism.

At the Salmon Arm Autism Walk there will be kids’ stations and blue light bulbs for those who don’t want to walk but want to join in the festivities and make a donation to ‘light it up blue’ for autism awareness. T-shirts and autism gear will be available at the Focus Ability office.

Focus Ability WorkAble Solutions helps adults with specialized skills obtain work experience; helps parents prepare for transitions their young people are facing; and helps high-school students gain their first work-experience jobs.

Geared-4-Autism provides online shopping for biking, sensory, tech and autism accessories for kids. Fidget items and no-tie shoelaces, for example, are a much-needed resource for families.

For more information about the Salmon Arm Autism Walk or to register or donate, contact Hiemstra at focusability.ca or call 250-253-3045.

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