10th annual Tampa Bay Walk Now for Autism Speaks will take place April 11 at Tropicana Field

Thousands will unite to raise awareness and funds for autism advocacy, research and services

The Central Florida Chapter of Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, today announced that the 10th annual Tampa Bay Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraising and awareness event will take place on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at Tropicana Field, home of Major League Baseball's (MLB) Tampa Bay Rays.

This will be the first year the ballpark will host Tampa Bay Walk Now for Autism Speaks. The Rays have been proud supporters of the annual walk for the past two years. In addition, the Rays host an annual autism awareness game for families and supporters, as part of MLB's league-wide initiative around Autism Awareness Month in April.

Autism spectrum disorder is now diagnosed in 1 in every 68 children, including 1 in 42 boys, making it the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.

All event proceeds from the Walk will support Autism Speaks' work, both locally and nationally, to increase awareness about autism, fund innovative autism research and family services, and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families in Tampa Bay and beyond.

The Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are the signature fundraising events for Autism Speaks, drawing hundreds of thousands of participants in more than 100 cities across North America to support autism research, awareness and advocacy.

Each Walk Now for Autism Speaks event is unique, offering a safe and fun day for families impacted by autism. The day includes a two to three-mile Walk and Community Resource fair with educational sources, therapists, schools, recreational organizations, and creative child-friendly activities - a true "one-stop-shop" for families affected by autism. 

"We are proud of our partnership with Autism Speaks and it is a privilege to be hosting this 10th Annual Tampa Bay Walk at Tropicana Field," said Mark Fernandez, Senior Vice President, Tampa Bay Rays.

"Our Walk Now for Autism Speaks continues to grow thanks to the generosity and support of so many people in our community," said Julie Reyes, Volunteer Chairman. "We are helping to advance science and awareness nationally, while also supporting the important work of service providers, researchers and clinicians in our community and communities across America. Once again, we are coming together to celebrate the joy our loved ones with autism bring to our lives, and to advance the effort to make life better for them and their families."

This year's local Walk is honored to have Outback Steakhouse as the Corporate Visionary Sponsor.