Wednesday, the men of Eastern Michigan University’s Iota Phi Theta Fraternity hosted their annual Autism Walk. The event was established in April 2012 by Thomas H. Crawford III, a member of the fraternity.
“I created this event so that people will become more knowledgeable about autism and become more involved,” Crawford said.
The Autism Walk is a rally of people who march around EMU’s campus to help spread awareness about the disorder. The walk began in front of the Eastern Eateries, and the supporters marched throughout the university grounds.
“At the beginning of the walk we do a balloon lift,” said Crawford, “then the march commences around campus taking donations until we reach our destination.”
The proceeds collected during the event will be donated to EMU’s Children’s Institute and the Autism Collaborative Center. Supporters of the walk were encouraged to carry big colorful signs with information about the disorder.
Crawford said that the idea to create an autism walk came to him one day in Halle Library.
“I was doing research and stumbled upon a puzzle that said ‘autism is real,’” Crawford said. “From that day forward, I was interested in the disorder. I became so interested, in fact, that I wanted to reach out to children with this disorder.”
Currently, this event is open to the EMU community, but Crawford has hopes to make this a national awareness program. The walk is held every year in April and all are welcomed to attend and participate.