SOURCE: Autism Speaks Chicagoland Chapter

Autism Speaks Chicagoland Chapter

September 16, 2011 10:56 ET

Chicago Ride for Autism Speaks Will Raise Awareness and Funds for Autism Advocacy and Research

CHICAGO, IL --(Marketwire - September 16, 2011) - Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, will host the 7th annual Chicago Ride for Autism Speaks on Sunday, September 18. All event proceeds support Autism Speaks' work to increase awareness about the increasing prevalence of autism, fund innovative autism research and family services, and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disorder, with 1% of the American population affected.

The Ride for Autism Speaks was founded by Diane Gedik, the mother of a child with autism, along with a founding committee of family and friends, including Leo Tavolacci, Laura Quinley, and Jen Stary. What started as the "Express your Love — Ride for Autism" has now grown into the annual Ride for Autism Speaks, hosting thousands of motorcyclists and raising more than $1 million since its inception in 2003.

This year, an anticipated 1,000 riders will participate in the Ride for Autism Speaks. The Ride offers an 89-mile course winding through the scenic western suburbs. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. at Wild Fire Harley-Davidson, located at 120 W. North Avenue in Villa Park, Illinois. The Ride begins at 10:30 a.m. and returns to drink, an Ala Carte entertainment venue located at 871 E. Algonquin Road in Schaumburg, for the After Party, beginning at 1:00 p.m.

The After Party will offer live music my Mistaken Identity and food, provided by drink, in addition to a merchandise raffle and 50/50 split-the-pot raffle. Area vendors, including the Rescue Riders, Shirts by Jan, Autism Superstore, Scentsy Candles, Originals by Gina Marie, Sassy Chica, Hugs N Stiches, World Financial Group and Woodstock Leather will also be in attendance.

The event is made possible by event sponsors, CDW, Shefsky and Froelich, drink and Ala Carte Entertainment, JA Rentals Corp., United Camera, Stratford Dental, The Law Tigers, U.S. Equities Realty, the Loop 97.9FM Chicago's Classic Rock and Wild Fire Harley-Davidson. And, once again, the Rescue Riders will be on duty to ensure a safe and fun ride. Very special thanks to the following police departments: Lombard, Villa Park, DuPage County, West Chicago, Carol Stream, Batavia, Kane County, Maple Park, Pinegree Grove, Elgin, West Dundee, East Dundee, Carpentersville, Barrington Hills, Palatine, Hoffman Estates, Addison, Glendale Heights, Geneva, and the Illinois State Troopers for their commitment to help support riders along the course.

Riders, passengers and After Party guests are invited to participate. The registration fee is $25, and includes a T-shirt and commemorative pin. To register, visit http://ride.autismspeaks.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=481644. Day-of registration opens at 8:30 a.m. -- the event will take place in rain or shine.

Members of the media are invited to attend the event, interview and photograph participants, volunteers and special guests.

About Autism
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 110 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism increased 57 percent from 2002 to 2006. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception only five short years ago, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $131 million to research and developing innovative new resources for families through 2014. The organization 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. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks also supports the Autism Treatment Network, Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and an award-winning "Learn the Signs" campaign with the Ad Council which has received over $200 million in donated media. Autism Speaks' family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit, a community grant program and much more. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government's response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.

About the Co-Founders
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also serves on the boards of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, RAND Corporation and the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Suzanne Wright has an extensive history of active involvement in community and philanthropic endeavors, mostly directed toward helping children. She serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations and is a Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. In 2008, the Wrights were named to the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world for their commitment to global autism advocacy.

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