LONG BRANCH, N.J. – The New Jersey Chapter of Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, today announced that the 9th Annual New Jersey Shore Walk Now for Autism Speaks and 5K Run fundraising and awareness event will take place on Saturday, October 11, 2014 at the Great Lawn in Long Branch.All event proceeds will support Autism Speaks’ work, both locally and nationally, to increase awareness about autism, fund innovative autism research and family services, and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families in NJ and beyond.

Autism spectrum disorder is now diagnosed in 1 in every 68 children, including 1 in 42 boys, making it the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.

The Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are the signature fundraising events for Autism Speaks, drawing hundreds of thousands of participants in more than 100 cities across North America to support autism research, awareness and advocacy.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks is a unique fundraising event that offers a safe and fun day for families impacted by autism. The day includes a 5K race starting at 8:30 a.m., check-in opens at 7:30 a.m. and a 1-mile family-friendly walk at noon. Walk activities open at 10:00 a.m. and participants can enjoy light refreshments, a Community Resource Fair featuring local autism service providers, and children’s activities including a fun bus, moon bounce, Home Depot Kids Workshop, game truck, and more.

In addition to its national science and advocacy work, Autism Speaks has made a significant impact in the Monmouth county area. The organization has provided funding to the MRESC Aquatics and Fitness Center through its Swimming and Water Safety Scholarship Fund.

“Our Walk Now for Autism Speaks continues to grow thanks to the generosity and support of so many people in our community,” said Janice McGreevy, Walk Co-Chair. “We are helping to advance science and awareness nationally, while also supporting the important work of service providers, researchers and clinicians in our community and communities across America. Once again, we are coming together to celebrate the joy our loved ones with autism bring to our lives, and to advance the effort to make life better for them and their families.”

For the eighth consecutive year, Toys“R”Us® and Babies“R”Us® proudly serve as the national sponsors of Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Toys“R”Us is also the largest corporate partner of Autism Speaks. Since the partnership began in 2007, Toys“R”Us® has helped Autism Speaks receive more than $18 million through in-store and online fundraising campaigns, donations from both the Toys“R”Us® Children’s Fund and Toys“R”Us®, Inc. and the efforts of employees who volunteer to raise additional funds at Walk Now for Autism Speaks events across the country.

Additional Walk sponsors include Xerox, Bob’s Discount Furniture, and Meridian Health. 5K sponsors include Two River Bank and Shrewsbury Pediatric Dentistry.

For more information about the 2014 New Jersey Shore Walk Now for Autism Speaks, please visit www.walknowforautismspeaks.org/NJS or contact 609-228-7332.

About Autism

Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 68 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum.

About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed more than $500 million to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 40 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.