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Walk Now for Autism Speaks draws thousands to Rose Bowl

April 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The fight against autism took center stage in Pasadena as thousands of people gathered at the Rose Bowl for the Walk Now for Autism Speaks event on Saturday.

Nearly 20,000 people took part in the event, which aims to support those living with autism and raise funds for autism research, awareness and outreach.

ABC7 is an event sponsor, and Eyewitness News anchor Phillip Palmer was the master of ceremonies for the event. Eyewitness News members Dallas Raines, Marc Brown and Danny Romero were also there supporting the family-friendly community event.

Autism Speaks organizer Phillip Hain said they raised $1.3 million as of early Saturday morning even before registration kicked off.

Hain emphasized the importance of keeping autism awareness in the forefront of people's minds. He said the number of people living with autism has gone up from one in 10,000 to one in 110.

"Autism doesn't just affect the families directly, but also everybody in society. Now, everybody knows somebody who has autism or knows somebody that knows somebody else," said Hain. "It's a health epidemic and everybody needs to be aware and pitch in because it really affects our whole society."

Registration for the event was scheduled for 8 a.m., and the three-mile run-walk was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.