Autism Speaks takes Progessive Field on Sunday

Posted at 2:09 PM, Sep 10, 2016

People from across Northeast Ohio will don their best sneakers and take to Progressive Field for the 10th Annual Autism Speaks Walk on Sunday at 10:15 a.m. 

The annual event, hosted by Autism Speaks Cleveland, is meant to raise funds to support research and programs for those afflicted with autism. Newsnet5's Emmy Award-winning anchor Frank Wiley will emcee the event.

So far, the organization has raised $160,027 of their $263,500 goal. Amy Helgeson, Executive Director of Autism Speaks for Ohio, is hopeful the organization will raise the remaining $103,473 on Sunday.

Each individual who raises more than $150 will receive a commemorative T-shirt on Walk Day. Helgeson said participants have been raising donations from family, friends and coworkers prior the The Walk on Sunday. Unlike years past, she said participants will only walk one lap around Progressive Field. 

The walk route begins outside the stadium on East 9th Street and wraps around on Ontario and Carnegie streets, before heading up Eagle Avenue and into the stadium. Once in the stadium, walkers will trek along the warning track around home plate before finishing in right field. The entire route is less than one mile, and expected to take around 30 minutes to complete. 

Helgeson said some entertainment and activities will be provided. There will be a Zumba warm up prior to the walk and YouthAbility, a special needs musical group, will perform live. The nation anthem will be sung by Alex Hale, an Autism Speaks committee member who is on the autism spectrum. 

The Cleveland event is touted as the largest in the country by Helgeson. She said the organization currently has about 2,500 people registered, but expects up to 5,000 to participate. 

More information and registration forms can be found on the Autism Speaks Cleveland website.