Posts Tagged "Walk"


Autistic people march for and against walk for autism in Richmond

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Breanna Himmelright, a member of Autistics United, hands out information leaflets during Autism Speaks Canada’s walk in Richmond on Sunday.

Arlen Redekop / PNG

Vivian Ly and others in the autistic community don’t need a national autism charity to speak for them. They already have voices and deserve to be listened to.

Those were among the messages Ly and other members of Autistics United had for those who came out for an annual walk hosted in Richmond on Sunday by Autism Speaks Canada, a non-profit that Ly’s group says does not represent their interests.

Scores of families attended the walk to help fundraise for the national organization, which provides resources, programming and services for autistic people and their families, and that supports autism research. The walk raised nearly $50,000, and over the years the organization has raised about $10 million for research and $5 million for family services, according to its website.

But during the walk, members of Autistics United stood on the sidelines, holding signs that read “Acceptance, not cure,” “Disability rights are human rights,” and “Autistics are speaking. Listen.” They handed out pamphlets and shared some of their concerns with some of the people who participated in the walk.

Autism Speaks Canada did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.

People take part in Autism Speaks Canada’s walk in Richmond on Sunday. Members of Autistics United, a self-advocacy group, hosted a protest at the fundraiser as they believe they should be able to speak for themselves and not seen as a tragedy.

Arlen Redekop /


Ly rejected what they termed a “deficit model” that assumed “there’s something missing in us,” and said they wanted to see the Autism Speaks logo, a puzzle piece, changed. Puzzle pieces have long been used as a symbol for autism, but there is controversy around its use because of problematic ways it could be interpreted.

They also found fault with Autism Speaks’ support for genetic research. The group has helped identify scores of genetic variations that affect autism risk, according to its website. “While that may help with an understanding about autism, there’s a huge concern about this being a slippery slope to eugenics,” Ly said.

Rather than seeking a cure for or cause of autism, there are people who could use support right now to help them thrive autistically, Ly said. As one sign put it, “Finding a gene won’t find me a job.”

Several members of the group said they did not support Applied Behaviour Analysis, a form of therapy that, as Autism Speaks Canada states on its website, has been “widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism.”

Ly characterized ABA as camouflaging intended to make autistic people indistinguishable from their peers. As Sam McCulligh, another member of the group put it, ABA is “basically gay conversion therapy for autistic children.”

Brayden Walterhouse (left), a member of Autistics United, hands out information leaflets during Autism Speaks Canada’s walk in Richmond on Sunday.

Arlen Redekop /


McCulligh said one of his concerns with Autism Speaks Canada is that its leadership positions are not held by openly autistic people. In contrast, all leadership positions at Autistics United are held by people with autism.

Brayden Walterhouse said people often try to get autistic people to match society “rather than respecting our right to be different.

“They need to show love and respect for everybody and not so much of a focus on a cure to change who we are,” Walterhouse, who is deaf, said through a translator.

Breanna Himmelright said she was diagnosed with autism at two.

“I spent 16 years learning how to talk, learning how to take care of myself, learning how to more or less pass, but unfortunately I never really got a chance to figure out who I am. So much of the focus was on making me appear normal. I’m more or less here to speak up and say hey, this isn’t something to be ashamed of. I’m autistic. I’m very proud of who I am. And I hope other people can be too,” she said.

Himmelright said she wanted people to know that Autism Speaks wasn’t the only place to turn to for information. “If they want to understand their autistic kids, just talk to an autistic adult. We’re here, we’re more than happy to talk to you about our experiences. Just listen.”

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More than 500 join annual MS walk in Vancouver

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More than 500 people took to the streets around Concord Pacific Place Sunday morning for the annual Multiple Sclerosis Walk to raise awareness of MS.

Participants took part in a 2- or 5-kilometre walk along False Creek in hope of raising $200,000 for MS research.

“This walk is critically important,” said Tania Vrionis of the MS Society of Canada. “Not only does it really provide that groundswell support, it really brings the community together for people living with MS to show them support; to show them they’re not alone in the fight to end MS.”

UBC MS Clinic director Tony Traboulsee said that the most common first sign of MS is loss of vision in one eye that usually last over 24 hours.

“We haven’t cured MS yet, but we’re getting closer and closer with more effective treatments.” Traboulsee told CTV News. “Now, when someone is newly diagnosed and we start early treatment, we can really predict a much better long term outcome. They’re less likely to develop disability and [more likely to] maintain their job and relationships. It’s much more optimistic today than it was 10, 20 years ago.”

The MS Walk also took place in 17 communities across British Columbia on Sunday. 

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Kelowna man wants people to help him learn to walk again after recent amputation

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Ralph Zaiser first noticed something wasn’t right with his leg last year, when it became red and inflamed and it hurt to walk.

The 50-year-old from Kelowna, B.C., went to see doctors and learned he had several blood clots in arteries and veins in his upper and lower right leg.

Initial surgery to remove the clots and restore circulation was unsuccessful, according to Zaiser — and four days later he underwent surgery that amputated his leg below the knee.

“You’re shattered,” he said. “You have so many emotions that go through your mind, like, ‘why me?,’ denial and utter disbelief.”

Ralph Zaiser is learning how to be mobile on his new prosthetic leg and is now able to run errands around the city and cut his front lawn. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

After two months of healing, Zaiser started to use a series of prosthetics, along with crutches.

He spent afternoons at the local shopping centre walking and resting as he learned to use a prosthetic leg — and that’s when the idea hit him.

“Why don’t I get a bunch of people to join me in this walk?” he said.

On Saturday, Zaiser plans to walk for an hour around the corridors of the Orchard Park Shopping Centre and is inviting the community to join him.

“I want to create some awareness, and [a] good way to do that might be to create a spectacle of some sort, because if you do that, all of a sudden people will be like, ‘What is this all about?’ and maybe they will start asking some questions.”

Zaiser chose a date in April to coincide with Limb Loss Awareness month and started sharing his story through videos posted to social media about being a recent amputee and the challenges and triumphs he’s experienced as he learns to accept his disability and work toward greater mobility.

That experience has been very rewarding, and eye-opening, he said.

“There are so many disabled people in this town that I’ve started taking note of and before I was a lot like everybody else and didn’t notice these people.”

He is inviting both physically disabled people and the able-bodied to join him in his awareness walk.

A positive attitude and a support network

Steve Ziehr, president of the Amputee Coalition of B.C. Society applauded Zaiser’s effort seeking out people to help him on his journey back to mobility.

Most amputees go through a grieving process when they lose a limb, Ziehr said, adding it can be a difficult road for them to reach acceptance.

“The more positivity you have and the more people you have around you to help, it sounds trite but it’s so true, the easier it’s going to be on you,” Ziehr said.

Zaiser is asking anyone interested in participating to meet him at the shopping centre food court this Saturday at 10 a.m.

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Annual Vancouver walk aims to raise $100K for women’s health in Malawi

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More than 500 people turned out Sunday for the Walk in Her Shoes March at the Creekside Community Centre.


Dozens of volunteers participated in the seventh annual Walk In Her Shoes campaign in Vancouver on Sunday, in hopes of raising $100,000 to support women’s and girls’ health in Malawi.

Spearheaded by CARE Canada, the walk seeks to raise awareness of the 10,000 steps, which is about six kilometres, a woman or girl must walk on average to collect water, food or firewood in developing countries around the world. As a result, young girls in these countries are put in danger or miss out on school, while women are left with little time to earn incomes.

“I was struck by the degree of hardship I witnessed in Malawi,” said Joanne Gassman, a CARE volunteer who visited the country in July 2018 to see first-hand CARE’s programs in action.

Nearly three million people don’t have enough to eat, about 68 per cent of women are illiterate, while one in four girls give birth to their first child between the ages of 15 and 19, said Gassman.

“When I saw the difference CARE’s program is making by teaching these courageous and proud people to become self-supporting, I was both touched and more determined than ever to raise the funds so desperately needed.”

Funds from this year’s walk will go toward CARE’s Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies initiative in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. The program works to improve women’s and babies’ nutrition by providing individual and group nutrition counselling and education, tools to plant community gardens, building water wells and systems to provide clean water access, and boosting a village savings and loans program.

Sunday’s event will be followed by a second walk hosted by students at local schools on March 8, which is also International Women’s Day.

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The Walk in Her Shoes March on Sunday featured 500 people who plan to walk 10,000 steps from Creekside Community Centre to raise funds for women, girls and families in developing countries.



The Walk in Her Shoes March on Sunday featured 500 people who plan to walk 10,000 steps from Creekside Community Centre to raise funds for women, girls and families in developing countries.



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Walk in the park or road to ruin? New path in Kamloops park raises local concerns

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Some Kamloops residents are raising issues about a new $3.7-million multi-use pathway which connects a city park to a neighbourhood southwest of the downtown.

One concerned resident, Carman-Anne Schulz, describes parks as her passion and thinks the project is, overall, a good idea. However, she thinks the 1.7-kilometre walking and cycling path as built is too wide and takes up too much space of what she calls a pristine park.

She also thinks it will be too difficult for many people to use because of steep grades.

“One of the selling factors for the trail was a mother could put one of those bikes on the trail that could carry their children and could cycle up and down that trail,” Schulz told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce.

“I’m a very strong cyclist, I’m 61, and I have to work hard. I have to back-and-forth a bit in my best hill-climbing gear… I’ve tried it.”

The path is in Peterson Creek Park and connects downtown Kamloops to the Sahali neighbourhood.

Carman-Anne Schulz says there are some problems with the soon-to-open cycling and walking path. (Shelley Joyce/CBC)

Schulz is also critical of the city for going $350,000 over the path’s original $3.35 million budget and is also concerned the park is too close to a marsh that she says is leaking water into retaining walls.

City believes project will be embraced

But officials with the City of Kamloops are defending their work on the project.

Liam Baker, the project’s manager, said the park’s larger footprint is for safety purposes: engineers, he explained, wanted cyclists and pedestrians to feel they had enough space to safely enjoy it.

“I think everyone will understand that it’s a really positive project once they get up here and walk it and bike it,” Baker said.

“Once they see how many people are using it and how much more access it grants to the whole parkland area, I think it’ll be really heavily used and appreciated.”

As for the budget overruns, Baker said those weren’t “too far out of line” for a project of this size. Council approved the extra spending, he added.

He admits the cycling grades could be considered a little steep but engineers had to contend with the existing topography of the park.

He believes water leaking issues have been sorted out but groundwater will be monitored.

The pathway is officially opens at the end of October.

Listen to the full story:

Some Kamloops residents are not happy about a new 1.7-kilometre, $3.7-million multi-use pathway in Peterson Creek Park connecting downtown to the Sahali neighbourhood. They are raising environmental, safety and accessibility concerns. 13:28

With files from CBC Radio One’s Daybreak Kamloops

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