Contact: Hannah Henning
For Immediate Release
More than 5,000 advocates to gather at 8th annual Autism CARE Walk
WICHITA, Kan.—Heartspring’s CARE (Community of Autism Resources and Education) Program will bring together more than 5,000 autism advocates on Saturday, April 25, 2015 for the 8th annual Autism CARE Walk, downtown at WaterWalk. All proceeds from the walk will benefit Heartspring’s autism outreach efforts and the CARE Program that serves more than 600 local families and children impacted by autism in the Wichita community.
“The Autism CARE Walk is the only walk of its kind in Kansas and the largest in a 600-mile radius. It’s amazing to see the support we have in Wichita, especially since the next closest autism walk that compares to ours in size is in Denver, Colorado, a city that has nearly three times more people than Wichita. This clearly shows how great the advocacy for autism in Wichita is,” said Interim CARE Coordinator, Danielle Cramer.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported a consistent trend of growth in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses over the last few years. The rate of diagnoses has grown by nearly 120 percent since 2007 from every one in 150 children diagnosed to one in 68 children as reported in 2014. With this trend of growth in diagnoses, the Autism CARE Walk has also seen a steady increase in participations at the event.
“We’ve seen an amazing growth of advocates for autism at the walk from not only families but also local businesses and schools. In 2008, we started with 500 participants and now are expecting nearly 5,000,” said Cramer. “This event is a great opportunity for those impacted by autism and their families to show their support and be with others who share similar life experiences.”
Each year, the Autism CARE Walk incorporates activities before and after the walk as a “thank you” to the participants. Attendees will have the chance to visit local food and merchandise vendors, play in the family activities field, and receive recognition at the awards ceremony hosted by KWCH 12 Morning News Anchor, Scott Evans, and 102.1 The Bull’s Brian Jennings. School of Rock’s house band, Dorothy’s Revenge will play favorites from the 70s and 80s following the awards ceremony.
Heartspring is a worldwide center for children with special needs. Our residential school, outpatient pediatric services, and the Community of Autism Resources and Education (CARE) Program aim to help children of all ages succeed by gaining the skills necessary for a more independent lifestyle. For more information about the Autism CARE Walk, visit www.autismcarewalk.org.