Richmond Walk Now for Autism Speaks Will Raise Awareness and Funds for Autism, Advocacy and Research on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at the Richmond International Raceway

Richmond, VA, August 25, 2012 --( Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, announced that the 4th annual Richmond Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraising and awareness event will take place next month on September 29, 2012 at The Richmond International Raceway. All event proceeds will support Autism Speaks’ work, both locally and nationally, to increase awareness about the growing autism health crisis, fund innovative autism research and family services, and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families in Richmond and beyond. Autism spectrum disorder is now diagnosed in 1 in every 88 children, including 1 in 54 boys, making it the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.

The Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are the signature fundraising events for Autism Speaks, raising more than $28.5 million alone in 2011 in 85 cities across the U.S. and Canada to support autism research, awareness and advocacy. Last year’s Richmond Walk Now for Autism Speaks attracted more than 2,000 walkers and raised over $106,000. Autism Speaks has made a significant impact in the Richmond area. In addition to its national efforts, the organization has provided funding to local services providers through its Family Services Community Grant program, including a grant for developing a Functional Community-Based Assessment Tool to identify the skills and needs of teens transitioning into adulthood to Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D., Upper School Director at the McCarton School in New York City, and Paul Wehman, Ph.D., Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks is a unique fundraising event that offers a safe and fun day for families impacted by autism. The day includes three-mile Walk and Community Resource Fair with educational sources, therapists, schools, recreational organizations, and creative child-friendly activities – a true “one-stop-shop” for families affected by autism. The day will also feature children’s activities, entertainment courtesy of the Diggity Dudes, a guest appearance by Senator McEachin of the Virginia State Senate, and so much more.

“Thanks to tremendous community support and the work of our wonderful volunteers, our Walk Now for Autism Speaks event has grown each year, and we expect to expand the ranks of both walkers and donors in 2012,” said Walk Chair Pam Brooks. “In addition to raising funds and awareness, the Walk is a chance for families to come together and enjoy a day of laughter, hope and community. Working together, we are making great strides toward improving the lives of people with autism and their families.”

For the sixth straight year, Toys"R"Us® and Babies"R"Us® will proudly serve as the North American sponsors of Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Additional sponsors include The Hughes Center, Grafton Integrated Health Network, Hyatt Place Richmond Airport, WRIC 8, and Mainline Broadcasting.

For more information about the 2012 Richmond Walk Now for Autism Speaks, please visit or contact Christina Markish at (202) 955-3111 or

About Autism
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 600 percent increase in the past two decades that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $173 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks has created resources and programs including the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, Autism Speaks’ Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, which Autism Speaks celebrates through its Light It Up Blue initiative. Also, Autism Speaks award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign with the Ad Council has received over $316 million in donated media. Autism Speaks’ family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit, a Grandparent’s Guide to Autism, and a community grant program. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government’s response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments in 30 states thus far, with legislation continuing to advance in more states. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 85 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit
Autism Speaks National Capital Area
Christina Markish