We go on this walk annually and have seen it grow tremendously over the last seven years. What began for us as a walk to support a local fundraising group has evolved into a national campaign spearheaded by the Autism Speaks organization. It hasn't all been good but the majority of changes have been welcome. The event for Washington, DC takes place on the National Mall with the walk beginning near the Capitol building, past the Washington Monument, until reaching the half-way point at the Lincoln Memorial. Then the route is reversed to end near the Capitol again.

It's funny that it's still a little disorganized after doing it for a few years now. The speaker at the assembled stage area was shouting into the microphone, "Start Walking! Head for the monument!" In a city full of monuments, that's a pretty vague statement. Near the end of the walk was a group of young women clapping and cheering for the last leg of the walk. I would have preferred them to be cheering us upon our arrival when it was still below 50 degrees and 8:00 in the morning. "Thanks for getting your tired ass out of bed and getting here!" That would have been welcome. Olivia couldn't do the entire walk (it's supposedly a 5K thing) so we took a shortcut and did a couple rounds on the Carousel on the Mall. It actually sports that semi-pretentious name. Like it's somehow different, nay better, than all those pretender carousels. At $5.00 a round, you think it'd come with a case of scotch or a six-pack of Billy Beer.

Plenty of our friends joined us there (about twenty) and it was, of course, a very heart-warming experience for us. A Redskin or two were there leading us in pre-walk calisthenics (which I ignored), somebody semi-famous sang the National Anthem, I think I recognized a few professional hockey players from the Capitals, and the local goofy weather guy was there. A local soul singer sang a song that he wrote after his child was diagnosed with autism. And after turning in all the donations we had garnered from friends and family, we got some free walk shirts. The Walk has been very successful as far as fund raising is concerned. I believe the total for this year is over $600,000.00 for this one walk. It happens in about 80 cities across the country and I can't even guess what that accumulates in dollars but I can tell you what it means to me individually.

Brenda and I are not alone. What an amazing, eclectic sample of individuals we saw. One in every hundred families now has an autistic child. The numbers are rising. I recognize some of the groups now by name: Patrick's Team; Nelson's Crew; Team Christine; and of course Olivia Can (our team). We've created a scrapbook filled with photos of which these Walk pictures are a part. Olivia can't appreciate fully what these pictures represent but Brenda and I do. I can't wait until the day Olivia and I wistfully page through this album and she can sense a small measure of how much she was, and still is, loved.


Web Junkie

Steve West scours the Web searching for interest or absurdity and then shakes his head ruefully when he finds it. Read more »

Driftwood

Washed up on the shores of my PC. In the spirit of Monty Python & The Holy Grail intro, "Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked," comes this notice. Beautiful pictures of a fairly clever notion, holding the sun. Go »

Professor's Last Lecture

If you were a college professor and had the knowledge that you had one last lecture to give. What would you say? What wisdom would you try to impart with this final opportunity? Go »

Top Ten Top 10

Letterman has practically made a career out of his "Top 10" Lists. I'm shocked he doesn't have the copyright. He does, at least unofficially, as anyone who does anything similar immediately brings thoughts of him to mind. Go »

Special Olympics

Today, Brenda and I had our annual meeting for Olivia's Individual Education Plan (IEP). The whole team meets which is comprised by at least 6 various educators and the parents. Some teachers just pop in for just a few minutes. Go »

Vacation Week

We took the girls to the National Zoo in Washington D.C., a part of the Smithsonian network of attractions. Home of the famous pandas, the National Zoo is incredibly diverse and seemingly comprehensive. Go »

Stay-cation Week IV

Brenda had a minor medical procedure today so we dropped the girls at Grandma's house for the majority of the day. Got through the procedure and had a nice lunch (just the two of us) at a local restaurant. I had a steak sandwich that was very tasty except it was served on ciabatta bread. Go »