Why I’m Participating in the The SAAAC Autism Centre Virtual Walkathon

Since the quarantine began back in March, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a contributing member within my community, despite the fact that I (like most other people) have been confined to my home.

Over the first month or so, I redoubled my efforts on the home front, spending as much time as possible with my own tight-knit community: my family. What a missed opportunity it would be, I thought, to spend so much time at home, and not use it as a chance to tune back into the day-to-day rhythm of my lovely spouse, Dasha, and our two wonderful kids. In many ways, this
was a blessing in disguise.

And yet, the circumstances that led to this family bonding were obviously less than ideal. While we were safe in our little bubble, the world outside was overflowing with tragedy, headlined by the COVID-19 pandemic and the #BlackLivesMatter protests spawned by the racially-motivated murder of George Floyd.

As much as it was important to get involved ourselves, Dasha and I felt it was equally vital to educate our kids about what it means to be a conscious citizen in today’s world. We looked for ways to lead by example. And so, when I was presented with the opportunity to become Captain in the virtual walkathon hosted by the SAAAC Autism Centre, I jumped at the opportunity. It was an opportunity to involve our kids in an important cause, while also raising awareness and money for an organization that does vital work within the community.

The walkathon, which I participate in yearly, is one of SAAAC’s most important annual events, but this year — due to the pandemic — the organizers migrated online. The alternative they came up with involved having Captains, like Dasha and myself, participate in a series of filmed fitness challenges to spread the word and encourage people to donate.

Thus far, we’ve completed the challenges, and we’ve had an absolute blast getting reacquainted with our fitness goals, getting our kids involved in a vital cause, and motivating others to follow in our footsteps. On a personal level, I’ve had a relationship with SAAAC since 2015, and despite the fact that Autism Spectrum Disorder isn’t a condition that affects my family personally, I hold the organization near to my heart. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to witness the essential work they do, and I never stop being inspired by how much the volunteers, staff, and organizers sacrifice to make a difference in these childrens’ lives.
And, indeed, I’ve seen firsthand what a difference their work makes. At their yearly walkathons and talent shows, I get a chance to interact with the remarkable families SAAAC works with, and witness just how much they’re able to grow with the support of the organization’s amazing staff and resources.

Much like the trajectory we experienced at Computek, the SAAAC Autism Centre began as an organization focused on the South Asian community, but quickly branched out and became more responsive to the community’s needs. Today, the organization caters to a diverse group of people, offering culturally responsive, evidence-based, community-backed programming to deliver incredible results.

But sadly, none of this would be possible without donations from generous people like yourself. If you have the capacity, please check out our virtual fitness challenges, and consider making a donation here.

Even if you’re unable to donate, I’d encourage you to get the word out by sharing the page where you can. In addition to supporting an important cause, you’ll be encouraging others to adopt a healthy routine.

You might like this