Saturday, 6 April 2013


One of my dreams has finally come to life.  An autism walk in Winnipeg, with a rally in front of the Legislature Building.  Until last year, my dream was to have my son Dayton beside me, and as you know, my family has grown, by many, many more children.  So my dream came true, with not only Dayton, but with Katie, Amber, Athena and John.  Ashley (My 18 year old, Asperger's, OCD, anxiety disorder, ADHD) couldn't be there with us, she was the one missing piece of our family's puzzle, but the rest of the attendees more than made up for her absence with sheer numbers and amazing energy!  And let's not forget about Mike, my better half in every way.  He was waiting for us at the end of our walk, organizing the speakers and band.

It is a blessing to be in a relationship where my goals and dreams are the same as my spouse's.  Something I need to get used to though (and it won't take long, human nature won't allow it), is to have someone care about me so much, that he makes decisions based on whether or not he thinks I'm ready for it...  At first, I thought Mike was treating me as a child, but upon further reflection, I realized that he was actually 'protecting' me!  I'm not accustomed to someone taking care of me at all, and between you and I, I really, really like it.  And when he thinks I can do something, and really believes in me, he fully supports me and does everything in his power to help me accomplish my goal.  Especially if that goal mirrors his own...  On April 2nd, 2013, the world celebrated the 6th annual World Autism Awareness Day, and this was the first year that Canada has recognized the day as such.  Finally!  

I really wanted to be a part of this day...  And Mike agreed.  He wanted the same.  And while I'm not sure if Mike deemed me ready for this or if our vision was in sync, I am happy that we were involved. 

And then, my friend Arlene...  While she's not nearly as protective of me as Mike, in fact, I'm certain that during the planning stages of the walk she was prepared to throw me under a bus, our goals were in sync.  She worked very hard to make this walk a success.  This walk would not have been possible without all of our joint efforts.

Anne Fountain's speech made me cry.  It took me a while to get my wits together after hearing her speech for the first time.  She is an amazing woman, a woman I respect and who's opinions I value very much.  Even when it comes to my personal life, I call for her advice.  God has given her the gift of wisdom, and she shares her wisdom with those who need it the most.  Here is the link to her own blog and the wisdom she shared with us the night of our walk.  WARNING...  You will need a box of tissues before opening this link:

And so, the autism walk!  Not only did my dream come true, but it was a huge success!!!  I expected an attendance of maybe 50 people if we were super lucky...  Our numbers were so much more!  Thanks to Anthony Mark Schellenberg of Anthony Mark Photography, I can show you the story of our  First Annual Autism Awareness Walk.  WARNING...  Tony's work is absolutely AMAZING!  He is an artist, who shows a story through his pictures.  The pictures you are about to see are beautiful, so make sure you have a box of kleenex beside you before you begin!!!

Our walk banner made exclusively by Arlene
Arlene and I carrying the banner with my daughter Katie (14 years old, autism, ADHD, GDD).  I LOVE this couple that joined us at the front, namely their enthusiasm and energy!!!  Wish I knew who they are
Some brought friends along.  What a beautiful sight!
Anne with her son
Arlene gathering the participants to get ready to begin the walk
Me, freaking out to Mike about the enormous turn out of people, Mike calming me down at his booth of information and jewelry
The live band waiting for us at the legislature building, our final destination
My Mike...  The master of ceremonies
Arlene happy to hold her baby boy after the walk
Anne making her wonderful speech
Arlene celebrating the end of our 35 minute walk from the Forks to the Legislature building...  Wait a minute...  That is NOT her husband...  Arlene, you have some explaining to do!!!
My son Dayton (11 years old, PDD-NOS, ADHD, OCD, ODD, GDD), somewhat relieved and tired after the walk was over
Johnny, my 5 year old
Mike and my 5 year old Athena
The live band:  Beggars Brawl
One of my favourite families I don't see often enough
Arlene's family
Some brought their own posters to wear
The founder of Autism Manitoba - for parents and caregivers.  Link to her facebook group:
Ian McArton, Athlete Development Manager of Special Olympics Manitoba making his speech
A beautiful symbol of unity...  I'd recognize that ring anywhere...  Love it!
Our entrance to the Legislature Building!!!  We did it!!!
My daughter Amber (12 years old, PDD-NOS, ADHD, GDD)
What's left of our posters after every walker received one
Dusti with Bella, an autism service dog and a loving member of their family
During Anne's speech...  Everyone was moved
People enjoyed our posters!  Yey!  Lord knows we spent countless hours making these, so it was great seeing people truly enjoy them
Athena, watching Anne during her speech
Bella, my favourite autism service dog
Loved these!!!
Love the autism spirit!
Arlene manning the information and jewelry booth for Mike.  He'd locked his keys in the van and I had to call CAA...  
The autism awareness bear! Isn't he adorable?!
Just thought it was a pretty picture...  Good work Tony!!!

There are 155 beautiful pictures to show the story of the event.  Thank you Tony for giving us all access to the photo album.  To see more of the event, and trust me, it's definitely worth seeing the pictures, go to:

While you're at his site, check out the rest of his work, and book your next portrait appointment as soon as you can, as he's getting to be busy.  Mention you saw his work on the World Autism Awareness walk for him to fit you in sooner.

The event was a success, and while I'm happy we were a part of it, I'm also relieved that it's over and we can start working on things in our lives again.  I'm hoping to have some help from others for next year's walk as this walk will be an annual event for us.  I can hardly wait to invite people to our 10th annual World Autism Awareness Walk!!!

Hope you've enjoyed Tony's picture story and Anne's speech as much as I have.  Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou and family