Canberra Raiders Coach Ricky Stuart joined local mother Sammie Behr down by Lake Burley Griffin today to help promote Sammie’s Walk, a fundraising initiative for local organisation Autism and Asperger’s ACT.

Sammie and her husband Nick, had their lives turned upside down last year, when their 4 year old daughter Eden was diagnosed with ASD. Having little understanding of the condition, and confused about what to do next, Sammie contacted Autism Asperger ACT (AAACT), where she received information and advice on supporting a child with ASD.

Sammie and Nick have spent the last 12 months learning about the condition and obtaining necessary therapies and interventions for Eden's progress. Sammie is passionate about raising awareness and understanding of ASD, given the journey she and her family have endured in the past 12 months.

To demonstrate her commitment and passion, and in an attempt to raise much needed funds for AAACT to continue their work in the Canberra community, Sammie has set herself one enormous task. 

For 24 hours straight, Sammie will attempt to walk (and scoot) around Lake Burley Griffin. It's an enormous physical and mental challenge Sammie has set for herself and while she has been training for the past 5 months, her longest walk to date is still only 10 hours.

She has been working with a sports psychologist, who has been helping with mental preparations and mind focus, and a trainer who is helping her to understand the stresses her body will undergo. Sleep deprivation and dehydration are a fierce combination, not to mention blisters, fatigue and muscle strain.

But Sammie says “I'm young, I'm fit and it's only 24 hours out of my life. When I first considered doing an awareness raising activity, I thought about walking from Canberra to Darwin. But then I thought it would be better to do something that Eden could be a part of.”

Sammie has managed to gather the support of local sponsors Capital Chemist and Just Better Care, giving her cause a much needed motivation boost.  But she is a long way from her fund-raising goal and is reaching out to the Canberra community for support.  “All the money I raise will go to AAACT.  The assistance and support they provided when Eden was diagnosed was invaluable. I am incredibly grateful for the time they invested in me and my family.”

Sammie's walk started at 3pm on Friday, 10 April from Commonwealth Place by the Lake. All Canberrans are encouraged to follow Sammie at any stage of her walk'n'scoot and to help celebrate her big finish at 3pm on Saturday, 11 April

Sammie's Celebratory Sausage Sizzle will run from 2pm to 3pm Saturday, 11 April and all are welcome.

CLICK HERE to make a donation  

Autism Asperger ACT Inc is a not-for-profit charitable organisation. Our mission is to provide information and practical support to people involved in the autism community. We aim to be an active voice in promoting and developing improved service provision to meet the specific needs of people who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).