Marian University senior Griffin Elbert always walks for a cause to support his brother Roen, who was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old. Now, you have a chance to join him at the third annual Walk of Champions. The event is set for 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 11 at St.Vincent Field on the Marian University campus.
“The walk was initially designed to raise awareness about a diagnosis that hit close to home.” Elbert said, “Individuals with autism may not be verbal, and may not be able to communicate their wants and needs. Other individuals with autism can be extremely verbal. There is a broad spectrum of behaviors linked with autism. It is important for people to be aware and tolerant.”
Elbert was the starting safety for the Marian University football team that reached the championship game in the NAIA tournament this past season; he’s also a scholar athlete who will graduate in three years and attend medical school this fall.
You can register online at www.getmeregistered.com/walkofchampionsindy and join Griffin and his family, friends, and teammates on Saturday, April 11.
The funds of the Walk of Champions typically go to autism treatment centers or schools serving individuals with autism. “Insurance reimbursement rates are not great for autism diagnoses and treatment, “Elbert said. “So it is important to help out financially to get the kids early intervention and support to be successful.”
His brother had minimal language and many behavioral deficits, but with intensive therapy and developmental pre-school, Roen is doing well. He is in a classroom with his peers and resource support when needed. “He is the world's biggest basketball and Pacers fan that I know,“ Elbert said. “He never misses a game.”
Don’t miss the opportunity to help Roen and others on April 11 at the Walk of Champions at Marian University.