Geelong Walks for Autism
The Day Autism Became Part of Our Family
When you meet Sue Anic her positivity and energy is infectious. Sue and family and a small group of volunteers are the energy behind Autism Walk Geelong, which takes place on Sunday 7th April at 11.30am, Steampacket Gardens, Geelong Waterfront.
In 2003, Sue’s 2nd child Cooper (now 18) was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and this is the day Sue describes as when “autism became part of her family.” A new diagnosis of autism undoubtedly brings many challenges and emotions for a parent but Sue’s description, looking back, also suggests welcome and the growth to come. From that time onwards her family, husband Mick, daughter Mollie and son Cooper expanded to encompass other families with a shared experience of autism. A long relationship started with Gateways Support Services, a community organisation with a 20 year history of providing services which support and empower children with autism and their families.
“Gateways introduced us to so much help and support throughout those first scary days, weeks and months. Along the way we met other parents in the same situation,” Sue said.
16 years on and that relationship is still going strong with Cooper participating in Gateways programs and Gateways supporting Autism Walk Geelong with CEO, Rosemary Malone walking with the community on the 7th April.
Autism Walk Geelong was set up in 2011 out of a desire to connect the community and raise awareness and understanding of autism . Today Sue’s family has grown in ways she couldn’t have anticipated.
“Our daughter Mollie grew up with her younger brother being a little different than her friends’ younger brothers & sisters. To say it was hard a times isn’t a lie but Mollie has always taken it in her stride to be a wonderful advocate, not only for her brother but for Autism as well. So much so she completed her Uni Degree and is now in her 2nd year of special needs teaching at Western Autistic school in Laverton”.
Autism Walk Geelong has grown from a few families to a large crowd. The free event is open to anyone to attend with no registration needed and a gold coin donation requested on the day. All funds raised will go to the region’s 4 specialist schools to provide equipment for sensory rooms. Event details can be found on Facebook or contact mobile: 0419160159
Pictured Above: (left-right) Mick, Luke (Mollie’s partner), Mollie, Sue and Cooper.