Counting Down to the 2016 PieceWalk

May 4th, 2016
The 7th Annual PieceWalk & 5K, Saturday, May 7 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, gives families who are impacted by Autism the chance to be around others who are on the same journey, and for Burke’s daughter Ashlyn, the chance to feel at home.

PieceWalk Raises Hope, Funds for Autism in Oklahoma

Thousands expected to walk, run to show support for families affected by Autism

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 27, 2016) — For Tammie Burke, Autism Oklahoma’s PieceWalk is more than just a stroll in the park, it’s a chance for her daughter to be a hero kid, if only for one day.

The 7th Annual PieceWalk & 5K, Saturday, May 7 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, gives families who are impacted by Autism the chance to be around others who are on the same journey, and for Burke’s daughter Ashlyn, the chance to feel at home.

“The PieceWalk is basically a day full of support for families and friends who love someone with Autism,” said Burke. “It’s more than just raising money, it brings awareness and acceptance to a sometimes hard-to-understand issue.”

Burke’s family and friends have participated in the walk since her daughter was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 2011. Now, her co-workers help raise funds and walk or run in the event.

“People in public react differently to my daughter, but the PieceWalk helps others understand the struggle of families who have a child with autism,” Burke said. “It also helps families see that they are not alone, and if their child has a meltdown, well we’ve all been through that. There’s an understanding and acceptance you don’t get anywhere else.”

More than 7,500 are expected to participate in this year’s PieceWalk & 5K, the largest autism event in the state. The money raised provides funding for more than 70 programs offered by AutismOklahoma.

“When we see friends and families come together for this event, it creates hope that children and adults will have the kind of support that they need to be successful over their lifetime,” said Melinda Lauffenburger, Executive Director of AutismOklahoma. “Everyone needs a network of support and people in their lives who are willing to invest, help and understand what they go through.”

The 5k has been a growing component of the PieceWalk event, becoming an Oklahoma City Landrunner series event, sanctioned by USA Track & Field and timed by DG Road Racing.

“It’s important to know that the money raised from this event stays here,” said Crystal Frost, Director of Community Engagement. “Thanks to the generosity of our community, we’re able to provide programs such as parent support groups, social groups, camps and pre-employment clubs that help individuals with autism reach their potential, for free or at a low cost to families.”

Registration for the event is open online at PieceWalk.org. The one-mile walk is free; early registration for the 5k is $35 until May 4, then goes up to $40. For more information about the PieceWalk & 5K, visit www.PieceWalk.org.

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