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Walk Now For Autism - Cleveland, Ohio Sept. 30th

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 2:17 am    Post subject: Walk Now For Autism - Cleveland, Ohio Sept. 30th Reply with quote

Those of you who have read my blog on know that, as a member of Rebel Legion and 501st, we've had the opportunity to be involved with countless non-profit groups and events that centered around children. And while there have been plenty of other events recently, one in particular proves the saying: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

My friend Scott (from OSWCC) has a son with autism, and that when Scott came to several members from Rebel Legion and 501st with an idea about forming a team for the inaugrual Walk Now for Autism to be held in Cleveland, Ohio...everyone jumped at the idea! Since autism is a defect that affects the mind, it was Scott's wife Milissa who came up with the idea of calling the team Donovan's Jedi.

Then came the task of recruiting 30 members from both Rebel Legion, 501st, and Ohio Star Wars Collectors Club to be "Donovan's Jedi" for the walk. As it turned out, Donovan was about to have a Grand Army of the Republic (that even Yoda himself would be impressed with) backing him up!.

Over the summer, several members from our team held an "Imperial Car Wash" (cause you know how dirty some of those troopers get) that served as our primary fundraiser, but washing a few cars wasn't going to reach the fundraising goals Scott and the rest of us had in mind. So folks hit the internet, talked with co-workers and friends, and brought in just over $2,000. Overall, the inaugrial Cleveland walk brought in over $537,000 dollars.

Then came the big day, September 30th at Jacob's Field. As the over 6,500 individuals began to gather in Gateway Plaza (between Jacob's Field and "The Q" Arena) , the one team that seemed to be getting everyone's attention was ours. At first, some of the kids were nervous about coming up to their favorite Star Wars characters, but pretty soon everyone was getting their pictures taken with Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and plenty of jedi knights and stormtroopers. But on this day, regardless of the costume we had on...all of us were JEDI, Donovan's Jedi!

Check out some "mission photos" from the Midwest Base website:

Midwest Base "Mission Photos"

It's been a couple weeks since the walk, and the sheer scope of what we accomplished has started to set in. The response to this story was so positive that even Mary Franklin contacted us about it and both the Autism Walk and it's car-wash fundraiser recently were featured on Bantha Tracks Online. All this publicity can only help the push to find a cure for autism, but most of all an entire community rallied together for someone who we all consider part of our local Star Wars family, and as a man once said:

"That's my family, Pilot. Everything begins with Family"
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Grey Jedi (Donna Keeley)
Rebel Legion Reserve

Joined: 14 Nov 2002
Posts: 11333

Medals: 9 (View more...)
Bronze Medal (Amount: 1)

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have organized a team for the San Diego Autism Walks for the last four years and I cannot begin to describe how emotional it makes a lot of us. The organizers give us a booth where we can interact with the kids and take pictures. Several Southern California members participate because it was their first event and they were just awed by the kids. I have seen kids who are generally unresponsive actually look at the Stormtroopers and recognize them.

I personally don't know if there will ever be a cure for autism, but the more money we can raise for research, the better we can understand this devastating disability.

May the Force Be with Donovan's Jedi. Thumbs up
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Princess Leia Organa (Lori)
Rebel Legion Reserve

Joined: 22 Oct 2002
Posts: 5919

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great job Krash & company! Cool Autism, another worthy cause. There's always hope that they can find a cure. But Donna is right, the money raise does help the cause's research and that's a good start.
R/S Original Trilogy LCJ
BH-0937 "Boushh Leia" of Florida Garrison

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