Autism Walk Surpasses Goal

By Rochelle Burnett, Toronto Police Service Published: 11:03 a.m. June 10, 2016

It was a powerful testament to those with autism and their families that they are not alone.

A man holding the shoulder of a boy in a group of people
Chief Mark Saunders and his son, Graham, 11, cross the finish line at the Autism Speaks Canada Walk at Nathan Phillips Square

"This is a special day for me. The reason why it's special for me because I have a hero. My hero is my son, Graham," Chief Mark Saunders told the thousands who gathered for the walk of his incredible 11-year-old son who lives with autism.

Team Mark Saunders raised $30,000 for the  Autism Speaks CanadaWalk at Nathan Phillips Square  June 5.

"When you have autism in your house you always tend to feel alone... when you come to this event it is such a loud message that you are not alone."

Graham Saunders interviewing people at the Autism Speaks, including his father Chief Mark Saunders

Since 2010, Autism Speaks Canada has granted over $4 million to service organizations across Canada promoting collaboration, best practices and building capacity to support individuals and families living with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Chief Saunders was impressed by the work of Service members who surpassed their $5,000 goal in the first year of their participation.

He said beyond money, Autism Speaks Canada, has started a healthy conversation about autism that can lead to greater awareness and research into the cause of the disorder.

A group of people standing
Chief Mark Saunders and members of the Toronto Police team get ready to walk
TPS crest watermark