Every step each individual took at this year’s Walk With Me 4 Autism helped raise more community awareness and acceptance for local families.
Organisers and cofounders of Walk With Me Sonya Olsen and Judy Fenn thanked those who took part in the event and said the months of hard work was worth every step.
As mothers of children with autism, both Sonya and Judy know the difference support and inclusion can make, and it’s their goal to lead the others in the community to acceptance.
Sonya said the aim of Walk With Me 4 Autism event was for people learn about autism in a fun and relaxed environment, and she hoped the annual event would take away some of the stigma surrounding those on the spectrum.
“We’ve had a really good turn out,” she said.
“Everyone is enjoying themselves and I am so thankful for the support given.”
The fun and informative day had a theme of communication and expression and started with local speech pathologists Stacey Slean and Amanda Zielke sharing information about autism.
Participants then moved on to lapping Gin Gin State School oval to continue raising funds with a target between $3000 to $5000 to help the I Can Network to continue mentoring children on the spectrum.
The inclusive local community spirit was in full force as people from all walks of life lapped the oval to show support.
Support worker Linnae Beckey said it was the first Walk With Me 4 Autism event she had attended, and the information she gained from attending was helpful.
“Especially the talk about the food, I wish we had known this stuff when we had babies,” Linnae said.
“It’s important for people to know they are not alone, for everyone to be inclusive.
“The awareness flows on and it helps kids and their families as they go through life.”
Divisional representative Cr Wayne Honor said it was great to see a good turn out of community members, some who travelled from Bundaberg, at the annual Walk With Me 4 Autism event.
“I have been part of Walk With Me since it began, as I have two granddaughters, 18 and 16, who have Asperger's Syndrome and they are extremely brilliant in their fields,” Cr Honor said.
“It’s a triumph to see them. I understand the importance of days like this where people in the community come together to support one another.
“Gin Gin is a great community, and what they are doing here at Gin Gin State School to help children with autism – it’s a credit to them.”