Ambassador Alex stepping up for Autism Awareness Week with Hadrian's Wall challenge

Charity ambassador taking on walking challenge for autism awareness week

Alex Rowley, an Autism Ambassador for the Sycamore Trust, is embracing the charity's Step Up idea by taking on the Hadrian’s Wall virtual challenge across three days. - Credit: Alex Rowley

An ambassador for the Sycamore Trust is to undertake the Hadrian's Wall virtual challenge for Autism Awareness Week. 

Alex Rowley, from Rush Green, has been a service user with the autism charity - which operates across Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering - since the age of eight.

Now 28, he has decided to walk the distance of Hadrian's Wall across three days to mark Autism Awareness Week, which begins on March 29.

He and his dad Tony will undertake the challenge together, and aim to walk 30 miles each day over eight to 10 hours.

The decision to undertake this effort for the charity was a simple one, says Alex: "Sycamore Trust has been there for me since 1998, providing my travel training when I started secondary school, giving me my first job when I was 18, even being responsible for me meeting my fiancée!


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"They have been a huge part of overcoming my barriers as an autistic person, which is why I chose the Hadrian's Wall Virtual Challenge, as a 90-mile-long literal representation of that."

Father and son walking for autism awareness week

Alex's dad Tony will be taking on the challenge alongside his son, with whom he has been long-distance walking since the age of eight. - Credit: Alex Rowley

Alex's decision to mark this year's Autism Awareness Week in this way is music to the trust's ears, given that circumstances have forced the charity to adapt its typical Dare to be Different campaign. 

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Normally the Sycamore Trust encourages people to dress up in something unusual to promote awareness of autism, but as spokesperson Steve Dixon explains, this year will be different: "We need to come up with something that people could do alone whilst social distancing, so that ruled out any events indoors and even a £5k or £10k run.

"Instead, we thought we might ask people to Step Up for Sycamore while they were maybe walking to school or to the shops or walking up and down the stairs in their building or even walking around their garden!”

Alex is one of the charity's autism ambassadors, a group of young people on the spectrum who deliver awareness presentations. 

These presentations have recently achieved CPD status, while the charity is hoping to gain the same accreditation for its virtual presentation, developed during the pandemic.

For more information on Autism Awareness Week, visit sycamoretrust.org.uk/

To sponsor Alex, visit virginmoneygiving.com/AlexRowley3

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