Long Branch — More than 4,000 people, including individuals with autism, their families and friends, joined together on Saturday, October 1 for the NJ Shore Walk Now for Autism Speaks, which took place on the Great Lawn.
The Walk has thus far raised $308,000, all of which will support Autism Speaks’ work, both locally and nationally, to increase awareness about the growing autism health crisis, fund innovative autism research and family services, and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families in Monmouth County and beyond.
Autism spectrum disorder is now diagnosed in 1 in every 110 children, including 1 in every 70 boys, making it the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
The Walk Now for Autism Speaks events – more than 80 across the U.S. and Canada – are the signature fundraising events for Autism Speaks, raising nearly $26 million in 2010 alone to support autism research, awareness and advocacy. Autism Speaks has made a significant impact in New Jersey.
In addition to its national efforts, the organization has provided funding to local services providers, including Autism NJ, Garden Academy, SNAP Incorporated, Burlington County Sheriff, Bergenfield School District, Pathways for Exceptional Children, Youth Development Clinic of Newark, and the Garden State Discovery Museum through its Family Services Co
mmunity Grant program.It also provides funding to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Columbia University and Kennedy Krieger Institute, which is part of the Autism Treatment Network (ATN), the nation’s first network of hospitals and physicians aiming to improve treatment for individuals with autism. Autism Speaks science grants have supported research at Princeton University, Rutgers University, UMDNJ and New Jersey Institute of Technology.
“Thanks to our remarkable families, volunteers, sponsors and staff, this year’s Walk was an unprecedented success and a joyous day for our community,” said Amanda Laughlin, Walk Co-Chair. “Working together, we are making incredible strides as we try to find the answers we all seek about this disorder and improve the lives of people with autism and their families.”
“The NJ Shore Walk has shown tremendous growth this year with 80 new teams registered from all around the state, and an overall 22 percent increase in donations,” said Dina Schwab, NJ Events Director. “We are very grateful for the support of the City of Long Branch, which has been our gracious host for the past three years. The beautiful Great Lawn provides us with a destination location for families to gather and walk along the ocean. The Link News and the Shore Creative Group of Long Branch, has also been very supportive in providing us with donated ad space throughout the year”
For the fifth straight year, Toys R” Us and Babies “R” Us proudly served as the
North American sponsors of Walk Now for Autism Speaks. They hosted a tented area at The Walk, which served as home base for the company’s mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe. Attendees stopped by to meet and take pictures with Geoffrey. They also learned about the “Ten Toys That Speak To Autism,”
a selection of everyday toys that can help build skills of children with autism, created in collaboration with Autism Speaks.
For more information, or to donate, visit www.walknowforautismspeaks.org/njs. You may contact the NJ Regional Office at 609-228-7315 or [email protected]
For more information on Autism Speaks, visit www.autismspeaks.org.