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Why Walk for Autism

Why Walk for Autism

Credit: Autism Speaks

Doug Enfield and his son, JD

by Justin Wieging, Autism Speaks (Guest Blogger)

Posted on July 27, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 27 at 11:32 AM

Two families with two stories about why they participate in the Puget Sound Walk for Autism.


I walk because 5 years ago I didn't know.
Autism was not even on my radar.  I could tell you volumes about cancer, diabetes, or even high blood pressure, but nothing about autism.  Now that I know how prevelant it is because of my own son's diagnosis, others need to know as well.  Doing the walk every year not only raises money for a cause that (literally) hits home, but it awards us the opportunity to share with our extended families, friends, and neighbors that autism is right here.  When 1 in 100 kids is diagnosed, its hard to NOT know someone affected by autism.
We want the world to see our family - our loving, functional, happy, productive, autistic famly.  Autism does not define my son nor my wife and I as parents, but it is part of our life.  Life changing, but far from life ending.
I walk so everyone else can know that too.
Doug Enfield, father of JD, who is on the spectrum


Our names are Mark & Susan Barlet. We have an 18 year old granddaughter Katarina with autism.
When Katarina was diagnosed with autism, the prevalence was 1 in 10,000. The doctors who delivered the devastating news didn’t give our daughter Crista much hope. In fact, they told her they would find a good home for Katarina, and she should move on with her life. There were not many researchers studying autism. There were even fewer clinicians to treat it.
We however, didn’t need an explanation as to what Autism was, we saw it in Katarina. It would be many years later that we actually discovered the term “spectrum.” We knew the disappointments, and the joys of our granddaughter who took particular joy in calling grandpa Mark “Grandma”.
When we discovered the number had increased to 1 in 166. we decided we must get involved and became the Chapter Presidents of Cure Autism Now, which merged with Autism Speaks 4 years ago.
It has been 17 years now since diagnoses and there is still no known cause and there is no cure. BUT we are getting closer. Autism Speaks is the leading private funder of autism research. 78% of every dollar raised goes to the science of finding a cause and a cure for autism. Because of the funds raised through our walks, Autism Speaks is continually funding the advances towards finding effective treatments, or perhaps a cure.
We walk because we want to see a cure for this devastating disorder. We walk because we want our granddaughter to have a chance at a typical adult life. We walk because we know, in our hearts, that Autism Speaks will help us find the answers.

Our fundraising goal is $300,000 this year.
We have given back over $2.25 million to Washington State research and programs to date in the past 5 years.

Saturday, August 14, 2010
Seattle Center – Center Square
9:00 AM – Registration, Check In, Money Turn In, Resource Fair, Kids Activity Area Open
10:00 AM – Opening Ceremonies
10:15 AM-ish, Walk Begins.

Walk is a non competitive 2-3K walk contained within the Seattle Center. Open to all to attend!

Individually raise $150 or more and receive a walk day T-Shirt. Individually raise $1000 or more to be part of our Puget Sound Grand Club.

For more information, contact Justin at (866) 362-6227 or (206) 464-5182 or