Each year since 2007 we have had a family team for the Broward County Walk for Autism Awareness. This event is sponsored by Autism Speaks. The walk numbers have grown over the years, as has the ratio of kids with autism. This year it has been reported that 1 in every 70 boys is on the autism spectrum. Huh? The walk is a great place for us. We see lots of folks we know but don’t regularly see. I often see some of Bryan’s former teachers, therapists, etc. I see Moms from different parts of the county that I may talk to over Facebook or a listserv but don’t get to see in person that often. It is also great to see the kids. Some of these kids I have known since they were in pre-k. Like Bryan, they are big kids now and to watch the progress is heartwarming. Our team is the Big Dog Walkers. My cousin Ben gave Bryan the nickname the “Big Dog” because his initials are BDK. We also love the Big Dog clothing company. As you can imagine we have a lot of their merchandise! The first year we asked that company to sponsor us. They did not officially sponsor us but gave us a bunch of white big dog t-shirts and we did an iron on “eye heart (symbols) Bryan” on the back. It took a long time to iron them but it was cute and heartfelt even if it wasn’t pretty.
For the next year we ordered some shirts with the big dog logo on the back and the I heart Bryan on the front. These were royal blue beefy ts and they were great. We wore those for two years. Each year we seemed to raise more money and had more walkers. We have tons of family and extended family that walk and each year someone joins us just because they love Bryan. For example two years ago our tutor Michelle came with her infant son in a stroller. While the walk itself is quick, getting there(it’s about 30 mins away) and finding parking, etc is not. It takes effort, effort which is not lost on us. We are thrilled if someone wants to walk with us and always elated to see Bryan’s response. This year our Hebrew tutor Robin and her husband are planning to come. One of my work buddies and her daughter too. I am truly grateful that these people want to take time out of their busy lives to support Bryan and us.
Two years ago we were able to scare up a sponsor from a local restaurant, Rock n Roll Ribs. One of the owners is the drummer from Iron Maiden and Bryan loves that restaurant. We got some cool tie dye shirts from their sponsorship funds.
This year we are starting to look at t-shirts and designs. We want to get Dri-fit shirts. I feel as if the t-shirts evolve as Bryan evolves and serve as a great metaphor for progress. We went from a pre-made shirt with an iron-on to a Dri-fit with professional embossing. Bryan has gone from not even knowing what the walk is about to awareness that everyone is there for him and he is the one with autism. If things keep moving like this we may be looking at a button down in a few years!
If you want to support our walk, please visit