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