Walking for Awareness: Cullman’s Annual Walk for Autism Brings Fun and Awareness

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Chelsea Sparks/CullmanSenese

HANCEVILLE – The annual Autism 5K, Walk and Fun Day took place last Saturday at Wallace State Community College. It was a beautiful day to be outside with family, and crowds of people showed up to spread awareness and have fun at all of the events planned throughout the day.

Rhonda Davis, founder of the Autism Support Group in Cullman, organizes the event annually, pouring all of her extra time and energy into events like these that raise awareness. According to Davis, there were quite a few new additions to this year’s event.

“We have new arts and crafts vendors this year, along with a lot of other stuff,” said Davis. “The horses of H.O.P.E Therapy are here this year and that is very exciting. We have a great raffle this year with themed baskets. We got fire trucks and helicopters, carnival games, new food trucks. There are a lot of new things to do today.”

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When it came time for the walk, various teams supporting a friend or family member lined up to walk the track in support of a loved one that is living with autism. Everyone present gathered as Mayor Nail of Hanceville welcomed everyone to the walk and thanked them for their support.  

Team Big B was one of the larger teams present at the walk to honor their family member Brenton, who is 4 years old. Brenton’s grandfather, Steven Freeman, spoke of how grateful he is for events like this one.

“We’re just very thankful for events like this and people who put forth their time to help with this cause,” said Freeman. “It does us good to see the community coming together and having our family, church family and friends supporting us. These children just need a little more understanding and patience, and it’s events like this that let these kids know that people care and accept them.”

The children and adults were all smiles as they played games, slid down inflatable slides, got up close with a helicopter and spent the day with friends that genuinely cared about the struggles they face in the world. Balloons were released for the 1 in 68 children that are now diagnosed with autism every day with the hope that they can create a more accepting world for these individuals who are as the saying goes, different, not less.

For more information on the Cullman Autism Networking Group, call 256-962-2208.