Publication: Bendigo Advertiser
Authors: Maddie Wines, Blair Thomson and Wendy Williams
MITCHELL Bourke has more than met his target.
His mum, Mychelle Bourke said the money is still coming in and they expect the overall total to hit $26,000.
The money gives the green light to an autism resource centre in Bendigo.
The event has been picked up by a national autism organisation and from next year Mitch’s Autie Walk will become an annual event in all states.
“It is fantastic,” said Mrs Bourke.
“Mitch is absolutely exhausted now but it was an absolutely fabulous day .
“When I heard it had been picked up by one of the biggest autism organisations in Australia I bawled my eyes out.
“To get the word out, and to see autism in a positive light is amazing and will help so many families.”
Mrs Bourke said the $700 diamond ring was won by an autistic mother called Alison.
“She is autistic and she has an autistic child, I think she has had a hard time and she was beside herself when she was given the ring.
“Everyone just bawled, it was absolutely gorgeous.”
MITCHELL Bourke has reached his goal of $25,000.
The 12-year-old walked from Epsom to Kangaroo Flat on Sunday to raise money for an autism resource centre in Bendigo.
TO SOME 20 kilometres is just a distance.
To Mitchell Bourke, 20 kilometres was a distance to make a difference to families across the nation.
The 12-year-old, who had autism and schizotypal disorder, walked from Epsom to Kangaroo Flat to raise $25,000 – a feat he is close to achieving.
The money from the Autie Walk will go towards funding an autism resource centre in Bendigo.
The Girton Grammar student brought tears to the eyes of many as he crossed the finish line at Kangaroo Flat, including his mother Mychelle Bourke.
“I am so overwhelmed,” she said.
“It’s amazing. I am so proud of him and so proud of what he has done.
“It was very emotional when we arrived.”
Ms Bourke said donations were still rolling in and she expected the overall figure to reach $25,000 in no time at all.
She said the autism resource centre was vital for families with autistic children.
“There are not enough resources (for families with autistic children).
“Families are falling apart.
“If this helps at least one family from splitting up or handing over their child because they don’t know how to handle it – how good would that be.”
Autism advocate Beck Kelly announced the Autie Walk would become a national event and would take place in every state in Australia.
MITCHELL Bourke is well on his way to achieving his goal of walking 20 kilometres to raise money for the autism resource centre.
Mitch, 12, who has autism and schizotypal disorder, is expected to arrive at Bunnings in Kangaroo Flat about 12.30pm.
He hopes to raise about $25,000 for the centre from the Autie Walk.
Mitch received donations from Jenny’s Early Learning Centres, the City of Greater Bendigo and many others.
Premier Denis Napthine, who handed Mitch a personal cheque on Saturday, applauded the youth.
“Mitch is just to be commended for his proposal to walk form north of Bendigo to the south, nearly a 20 kilometre walk, to raise funds for an autism information centre,” Dr Napthine said.
“It is to the great credit of Mitch and his family and I was very pleased to be able to provide a personal donation to assist him in his fundraising.”
Family friend and autism advocate Beck Kelly was also full of praise.
“This man has saved my centre,” she said.
“Myself and a girlfriend came up with the idea.
“When we lost funding I was about to give up and this little boy has saved our centre.
“I don’t think he realises just yet the enormity of what he’s done.
“I think he will realise in about a month’s time when this centre is opened and he can see so many other families benefiting from it.
“He’s my hero.”
There will be face painting, a jumping castle and a raffle at Bunnings.
The family will also give away a diamond ring worth $700 to a mum of a child with autism.