Take a Hike Toowoomba will be held on 23 April at Queens Park from 6:30am until 1pm.

The community event, organised by the AEIOU Foundation, is a fundraising challenge that aims to raise vital funds and awareness for children with autism. It’s open to all ages and will cater for all fitness levels, with a 10.5km route for the Sunday strollers, 21km for the half marathon heroes and 42km for the marathon maniacs.

The 2016 event was a huge success, with the AEIOU Foundation Acting CEO Kerrie Mahon stating the organisation was immensely grateful for the support of the Toowoomba community.

“This event encourages people to challenge themselves while bearing in mind the many challenges children with autism and their families face each and every day,” she said.

The AEIOU Foundation provides early intervention programs for children aged two to six years with autism, which are critical years in their development. The foundation alerts people to the fact that four out of five children diagnosed with autism will be boys. It is only with the community’s continued support they are able to provide children access to life changing services, which create opportunity and lifelong outcomes for children and their families.

Mahon said that since the event’s inception six years ago, it has raised more than $300,000 for children.

“We experience a $10,000 funding gap for every child in our  service, and it’s our commitment to ensure the service is affordable and accessible for every child.”

The AEIOU Foundation is confident that this year’s Take a Hike event in Toowoomba will continue to leave a lasting positive impact on autistic children’s lives. This year, the community has already raised $4 222 with a goal of achieving $200,000 by the end of April.