Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt has completed his 500km Walk for autism, crossing the finish line at the Abacus Learning Centre in Hastings, Vic.
After 19 days on the road, trekking across his electorate of Flinders, Mr Hunt has spoken to thousands of students about the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and how to support those living with the condition.
“It has been a rewarding and at times emotional experience,” Mr Hunt said.
“I have heard many stories of the difficulties faced by local families caring for a child with autism and directly from the children themselves about how living with ASD affects them.
“I took on this challenge, to walk and visit so many schools around my electorate to raise awareness about autism.
“A child with autism finds the world a confusing place and often struggles to communicate and socialise with other children. As we visited each school the message was simple: be a friend to someone with autism.”
Mr Hunt says while there is no cure, autism responds well to early intervention and assistance. Crucially, community understanding helps make life better for those with autism.
“Thanks to the tremendous support of the schools, the local community and people like you, the walk has exceeded our $30,000 fundraising target.
“From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you to everyone who has donated, including the schools who have held special fundraising events, as well as the families who have joined us on the road.”
At this stage more than $120,000 has been raised for the Abacus Learning Centre in Hastings and the Light Up Autism Foundation, with more donations still to come.
Donations can still be made online through www.greghunt.com.au