ABU DHABI // Hundreds of people turned out at Mushrif Central Park yesterday for a 1.2 kilometres walk in support of the Emirates Autism Society.
Etihad Airways’ fourth annual Walk for a Cause also aimed to raise money for a school refurbishment in India.
Families, university students, work colleagues and children with special needs all joined in the fund-raising effort.
Laurence Marshutz, 39, was joined by daughter Rosemay, 4, son Thybalt and his friend Victor, 12. “It’s a nice day for a walk,” she said.
“I’m doing some research on autism, the challenges children with autism have, and their greater need for autonomy and independence.
“I would very much like to offer some support.”
Milana Veselykh, 10, was excited to be at the park with her mother, Irina, 31. “I’m always happy to be with my mum anywhere she goes,” she said. “I’m sure we’ll have fun.”
Mrs Veselykh said her daughter was curious about why so many people attended.
“I told her that we are here to support a new autism centre in Abu Dhabi and a school in India. I want her to be exposed to these kinds of activities.”
Adults paid Dh30 to enter the fund-raiser event, while university students and children aged six to 17 years paid Dh20 and Dh10, respectively.
Women with children up to five years old registered in the “mom and kid” category.
Each participant received a T-shirt and a pedometer.
Hussain Jalal, who works as a counsellor at ABC Private School in Shamkha, accompanied 45 pupils to the event.
“I believe our school needs to do something for children with special needs,” he said. “Today, we are here to enjoy while supporting a new autism centre.”
The walk was more than just exercise. The event kicked off at 3pm with games and fun activities such as giant inflatable slides, wall climbing walls and face painting. There were also dancers and singers on the stage to keep the crowd entertained.
Children also got to try their hands on a flight simulator, with Etihad pilots giving providing tips and advice.
Source: uae news