The AKO Autism Charity💜Room full of Heroes

It was just like any other Saturday morning, in all but name only.  In just a few hours there would be a strong community, a family coming together to share their stories, achievements, challenges and admiration for each other. There would be laughs, smiles, tears and an array of people, donning their favourite outfits to shine proud.  Standing shoulder to shoulder. This was going to be a huge room literally full of Heroes💜


It was time for our Charity to recognise just some of the Worlds Autism Heroes as nominated by so many people – an exciting opportunity showcasing and celebrating some of the excellence taking place in the World of Autism.  The Anna Kennedy Online Charity team would come together at the prestigious Radisson Blu Portman Hotel in Central London to make ready the stunning ballroom fit for Heroes. I love the feeling as you walk into the ballroom and feel the calm before everything gets going later in the evening. The room is being prepped for our Heroes, the tables are being set, the awards, certificates, raffle, auction and red carpet organised – we want our Heroes to have a night to remember. The crew are setting up the sound and lighting alongside us, they’re part of our family. It’s such a lovely feeling when you first arrive and you can literally feel the ballroom quiet, calm, everyone has a role, working with careful care and consideration for the night ahead. The room boasts the most amazing chandelier lighting, with wood panelled walls adorned with more huge crystal lights.  Stunning and absolutely beautiful, perfect for our Heroes.


It’s during this time that you begin to feel the ballroom is literally oozing with anticipation for the evenings event. You can literally feel it. The ballroom feels like it’s about to come alive…..


We, the team, get ready as quick as we can with minutes to spare, red carpet ready for our first guests that have started to arrive. It’s time for our Heroes to be welcomed, greeted, treated to red carpet photos, and welcomed into our reception room with refreshments. You can feel the sheer excitement as people come together, recognise faces, meet old friends, and make new friends too! It’s an inclusive event, and we have a quiet room ready on standby for those that request it.  It’s brilliant to see Pineapple Performing Arts as they open the event with some of our autism scholarship winners, as I said it’s all inclusive, and I really adore seeing the dancing it’s fantastic!


It’s difficult to put into words the feelings you have being a part of this. You’re literally on a rollercoaster of emotions from the calm at the start, to the anticipation, excitement, admiration, humbleness, happy, joyous, plus both happy and sad tears, as your emotions take over listening to stories of achievements, success, struggles, adversity and sadness. I literally can’t explain every emotion you feel.  You have to be there to experience the night for yourself.  The event came about 3 years ago as our Charity founder Dr Anna Kennedy OBE sought to host an evening of celebration of excellence for those in the World of Autism across the whole of the UK – Anna had previously presented awards for the event in Wales as founded by Jo Kirton Salmon. Every single person attending, everyone is a Hero, and the night is all about, and belongs to YOU.  All are made to feel appreciated and valued.

Everyone there holds each other up, supports and builds each other up, as everyone deserves it. Yes we make it glamourous for you, yes we have gone above and beyond for you – why shouldn’t you enjoy a night treated with respect and admiration as we share in everything you have achieved and more? You deserve it.


Everyone has a story, everyone deserves for it to be heard. Holding back the tears is difficult, come armed with tissues for sure, as you cry both happy and sad tears. You can literally just ‘be you’ here.. you can be yourself without anyone judging or expecting anything of you. No one expects, no one judges you, no one makes you feel any less than you are; it’s all about recognising each other and sharing it with each other. The Charity as a whole to me feels just like that, you can just ‘be’.  How refreshing and amazing is that.


If you have never been to one of our Heroes events, please mark it in your diary for next year – you would not be disappointed, it’s a Saturday experience you will talk about for long after. Infact all our Heroes are becoming used to the attention received from various media sources which ultimately serves to ensure that everyone gets the acknowledgement they so deserve.  The buzz of the night goes viral online and we love to hear how everyones’ own stories are shared Worldwide. Over the course of the night there are cheers and excitement from everyone when their names are called out, it’s such a humbling experience to realise you are in the presence of Heroes as nominated by the public.  The joy on everyones faces is infectious, it’s truly an amazing evening that fills your heart.  For details of our winners this year see AKO Autism Hero Award Winners


We were also in for a treat, being entertained by the amazing talented singer Matthew Shelton, and a stunning duet by Calvin Glenn & Charlotte Fieldson; all autistic performers from our annual Autism’s Got Talent show! Let’s not also forget the judges and their difficult task; we receive hundreds of nominations, emails, videos, letters, all of which our judges spend hours deliberating over. It’s a very difficult and admirable role to have, and the true stories they get to hear stay with them forever.  Forever friends are made, friendships, acquaintances, lessons learned, new beginnings and more, it’s truly an experience that will touch your heart and stay with you.

As a Charity we have so many thank yous, for example we are always proud to welcome sponsors of our Hero categories, as companies become a part of the special night.  BUT ultimately the people this is all about are our Heroes. I for one join in and think of my Son CH, these events always remind me what is possible, what can really be achieved when you put your mind to it, everyone has their own pocket of greatness as I say, and to be present somewhere that you can just be yourself without anyone making you feel awkward or uncomfortable is truly amazing. Society does not always allow people to feel like that, whether autistic or not, so I can truly say come to our events, checkout our website, we really do care. It’s truly a humbling and proud feeling to be a part of hosting such an evening and event as this, it’s all about the Heroes.  The room, full of Heroes💜



2 thoughts on “The AKO Autism Charity💜Room full of Heroes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s