For the first time in the history of the Ross Medical Education Center campus in Portage, the staff, faculty, students, and their families participated in the Autism Walk at Celery Flats. All involved were very excited to participate and support those that live with autism. It was a beautiful day and they enjoyed walking three and a half miles as well as learning more about autism on the way.
One of the major draws to this walk is that all the proceeds went towards Autism research and stayed in the local area. Although this was the first year that Ross participated, this event, hosted by the Kalamazoo Autism Society, was coming together for the 12th consecutive year. The Society works hard to make the event fun, informational, and very family-oriented so that the local chapter can promote autism awareness in southwest Michigan.
According to the Kalamazoo Autism Society website, nearly 400 southwest Michigan families are affected by autism. Each year, more and more of those families as well as others that aren’t directly touched by autism join the walk and talk event to learn more and support one another. Last year, almost 800 families came out to support the cause. The goal of the event is “to increase awareness of what autism is, create opportunities for those affected by autism, and foster acceptance so that those living with autism are fully included in their own community.” That is exaclty what they are doing each year as more families join together to raise compassion and awareness. During the walk, Dee Loucks, Assistant Campus Director of Education, overheard one mother say to another, “it takes a village to raise an autistic child!” That understanding is precisely why Ross decided to come together with their community and many families with autistic children. They want to be a part of that village.
If you are interested in learning more about the Kalamazoo Autism Society, how to become involved, and ways you can support, visit their facebook page or their website at www.kalamazooautismsociety.org.