Walkathon Flagged off Nov. 17, 2009

Today, the Fundraiser Walkathon by Rtn. Rao Sahib and Ann Lalitha Rao Sahib from Bangalore to Tirumala was flagged off at a function organised by the Rotary Club-Bangalore Orchards, Inner Wheel Club- Bangalore Orchards and the Rotary Club –Bangalore Cantonment.

Inspite of the rain and the dampened atmosphere, the Rao Sahibs were undeterred and all the Rotary club members and the members of SAI were highly supportive of their efforts. The flag off ceremony was held at the Rotary Cantonment Premises at Coles Park, Bangalore.

President, Rotary Cantonment – Rtn. Shailendra Gupta welcomed the esteemed guests and invitees of the day. Innerwheel – Bangalore Orchards – President, Ann Sunitha Ganesh presented beautiful bouquets to the guests of honour – S Nagendra, District Governor, RI Dist. 3190 & Mrs. Tara Gopinath, District Chairman, Assn. of Inner Wheel Clubs in India (Dist. 319) and the Chief Guests – Raghu Dixit, Singer/Music Director & Sonu, Cine Artist.

Mr. Kasturi Rangan, Hon. President, Society for the Autistics in India gave a bird’s eye-view of autism – various causes, symptoms & characteristics; importance of early intervention and acceptance by the general public at large.

Rtn. Rao Sahib explained that the main reason they started this walkathon 10 years ago was to overcome their depression and gain Lord Balaji’s blessings when their business saw a major downslide. The subsequent years, they have continued to walk their way to Tirupathi to thank God for his blessings, help raise funds and donate the entire amount to a noble cause. This year they have chosen to support Society for the Autistics in India. They hope to continue to walk to Tirupathi as many years as they can.

All the dignitaries present opined that very few have the walk the talk like the Rao Sahibs and that in itself requires a special divinity. It also brings out the humility of the Rao Sahibs to walk for a noble cause each year. Raghu Dixit’s presence lightened up the environment with his wit & sense of humour. His down-to-earth attitude and his love for the environment demonstrated by his using only a bicycle endeared him more to all.

M K Nithya Lakshmi, Head, Apoorva Center for Autism, presented the Rao Sahibs a glass painting and some products made by the children as a token of gratitude and affection. The children who attended the event presented all the dignitaries on the dais a gift hamper of various products made by Apoorva’s vocational training unit. This moved the hearts of one and all present at the occasion.

After a sumptuous breakfast, courtesy of Rtn. Holla, the Guests of Honour & the Chief Guests flagged off the walkathon. All prayed for the Rao Sahibs to have a safe journey. The children and guests present took a few steps with the couple and wished them the best.

Click here for photos of the Walkathon flag off.

End of Day 1 – Rao Sahibs reach Hoskote

Starting from their home in Bangalore at 3:00AM today and covering a distance of over 35KMs, Rtn. Rao Sahib and Ann Lalitha Rao Sahib reached Emerald Isle Resort, situated 2KM from Hoskote, at 5:30PM. They will be resting tonight at this resort and will continue their journey to Tirumala tomorrow early morning at 3:00AM.

Earlier in the morning the walkathon was flagged off from the Rotary Cantonment premises at Coles’ Park, Bangalore. Today, during their journey they witnessed a traffic jam on the KR Puram Road caused by rains and flooding and had tough time walking through the traffic jam. They took their mid-day break from 1:15PM to 2:45PM, which was slightly less than their usual mid-day break to make up the lost time.