Long Branch, NJ – More than 1,500people, including individuals with autism, their families and friends, joined together in the rain on Saturday, October 11th for the New Jersey Shore Walk Now for Autism Speaks and 5K at the Great Lawn in Long Branch. The Walk has thus far raised $210,000 in pledges, all of which 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 Princeton and beyond.
Autism spectrum disorder is now diagnosed in one in every 68 children, including 1 in every 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, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, drawing hundreds of thousands of participants in more than 100 cities across North America to support autism research, awareness and advocacy.
“We are incredibly grateful to our remarkable families, volunteers, sponsors and staff, who once again worked so hard to make this year’s Walk a huge success and a wonderful day for our community even in the rain,” said Amanda Laughlin, Walk Co-Chair. “The money raised, and the awareness generated, are critical to Autism Speaks’ efforts to improve the lives of people with autism and their families.”
In addition to its national science and advocacy work, Autism Speaks has made a significant impact in the Shore area. The organization has provided funding to the MRESC Aquatics and Fitness Center through its Swimming and Water Safety Scholarship Fund.
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 and 5K sponsors include Xerox, Bob’s Discount Furniture, My Solar Home, FedEx, Meridian Health, Two River Bank, Shrewsbury Pediatric Dentistry, and 94.3 The Point.
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.