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Autism Speaks

This post is from a friend via Facebook. While our posts usually focus on opportunities for giving time and not money, sometimes helping your children help others requires reaching for their piggy banks—or yours. Whether or not you choose to contribute to this cause, I encourage you to read this message from a mother who is affected by the challenges of autism on a daily basis.

2010 Walk Now for Autism Speaks

Dear Family and Friends,

Many of you know our son, Nate, who is ten years old. He has blonde hair, big blue eyes, and the most adorable smile. He loves trains, drawing, and is starting to learn to play the cello! Looking at Nate you would never know that he has a debilitating disorder known as autism. Autism affects every aspect of Nate’s life…and the lives of everyone around him. Nate has come a very long way since his diagnosis in the spring of 2003. Since then, he has learned to speak, to read, and to hold a conversation. In school, Nate is doing the same work as his 5th grade classmates with the help of an aide. But for all of his intelligence, Nate still cannot interact appropriately with others. He has trouble processing the world around him. He is capable of so much and we are doing as much as we can to help him reach his full potential- whatever that may be.

Autism is a complex brain disorder that often inhibits a person’s ability to communicate, respond to their surroundings or form relationships with others. Autism spectrum disorders affect people of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and occur in as many as one in 150 births, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. And the numbers are still rising! Currently the cause of autism is unknown. There are no specific medical treatments or a cure for autism. Most people with autism require lifelong supervision and care. Only 7% of children with autism go on to be independent. Recent studies suggest that more than 1 million Americans are living with an autism spectrum disorder. Despite the strikingly high prevalence of autism, autism research remains one of the lowest funded areas of medical research by both public and private sources. But funding for research is woefully inadequate. Only through biomedical research will we ever understand what causes autism and develop methods to diagnose autism. Someday, with your help, we will find a cure!

As a family, we have decided to make an effort to increase autism awareness. This year we are participating in the Columbus Walk Now for Autism. The Walk will be held in Columbus on October 10, 2010. There are so many ways that you can help our cause. You can choose to sponsor us in the event with a tax deductible donation or walk with us. The proceeds of the Walk will be used to support the efforts of Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks is the largest non- governmental supporter of autism research in the United States. If you are interested in finding out more about them, please check out their website, www.autismspeaks.com.

Please help us raise money for this extremely important cause by increasing awareness among your friends and coworkers. We realize that there are many charities that vie for your attention, but any contribution, large or small, will be greatly appreciated.

As always, thank you for your consideration, support and prayers. It means more to us than we could possibly express. We look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,

Dawn, Steve, Nate, Anthony, and Emily Petrill

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