Melissa Naude (second left) and Nolwazi Magwaza (second right) will walk from Durban to Cape Town with a team to raise funds and awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Here Melissa gets support from, from left, Anna Atkins of the Association for Autism in Gauteng, Liza Aziz, chairwoman of Action in Autism in Durban, and Eugene van Wyk from the Association for Autism. Picture: Rogan Ward

A group of committed South Africans will begin The Big Autism Thing on Saturday, a walk along the coastline from Durban to Cape Town to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders and funds for organisations that work with people on the spectrum.

Starting at 9am, six walkers including a Durban woman, Melissa Naude, 19, who has Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of autism) and Nolwazi Magwaza, 19, a student at DUT, will start their epic 2 100km journey from the grassy area at the former Snake Park site on the beachfront.

The public and relatives of people with autism are encouraged to walk with the team from the Snake Park to uShaka Marine World and back again. Walkers will also be able to have a picnic and enjoy a morning of fun with like-minded families.

Misunderstood

Funds raised by this walk will go to six South African organisations The Association for Autism (Gauteng), Charity-on-the-Go (Darling), De Grendel Homes (Western Cape), Autism Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth), Academy for Adults with Autism (Western Cape) and Action in Autism (KZN).

“April is World Autism Awareness Month and World Autism Awareness Day is on April 2.

With almost 300 000 people in South Africa who are on the Spectrum, we are using this opportunity to ensure greater awareness is created about this often misunderstood disability,” says Liza Aziz, chairwoman of Action in Autism.

Walkers and supporters are asked to gather from 8am at the start.

The fee is R20 a person.

For more information, go to www.bigautismthing.co.za, call 073 393 8451 or e-mail [email protected]

Donations can be made to Association for Autism ABSA Bank Hatfield 4078899809 and use BAT/your name/ telephone number as a reference.