SOURCE: Autism Speaks Chicagoland Chapter

Autism Speaks Chicagoland Chapter

September 21, 2010 12:03 ET

Chicago Ride for Autism Speaks Welcomed 1,000

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - September 21, 2010) -  Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, hosted the 8th annual Chicago Ride for Autism Speaks on Sunday, September 19. All event proceeds will 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's Chicago Ride for Autism Speaks attracted over 1,000 riders and supporters, and has raised over $60,000. "We are so grateful to this year's participants, volunteers, donors and partners who made the day so successful," said Diane Gedik, founder of the Ride. "It means so much to know that so many people care and want to help make a difference. We just hope everyone had a great time."

The Chicago Ride for Autism Speaks included an 85-mile course throughout the western suburbs beginning at Wild Fire Harley-Davidson in Villa Park, Illinois and returned to the Village of Addison Complex, in Addison, Illinois for the After Party. At the After Party, participants enjoyed live music by Mistaken Identity and food, provided by JD Muggs, in addition to a merchandise raffle and 50/50 split the pot raffle. Area vendors, including Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, TGB Leathers, Woodstock Leather, Shirts by Jan, Autism Superstore, Printzpaint, Nationwide Insurance, Shaklee Nutritional Products, and Reptilian Accents were in attendance. Riders were also treated to breakfast sold by the Westmont Boy Scout Pack #6, who in turn, donated proceeds to Autism Speaks.

The event was made possible by event sponsors, CDW, Shefsky and Froelich, JD Muggs and Wild Fire Harley-Davidson. Other sponsors included JA Rentals, Blue Sky Vineyards, The Ramirez Family, United Camera, HealthCare Information Services, Inc., The Law Tigers and Stratford Dental. And, once again, the Rescue Riders were on hand to ensure a safe and fun ride. Very special thanks to the Village of Addison and Addison, Batavia, Carol Stream, DuPage, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Kendall County, Lisle, Lombard, Montgomery, Oswego, Palatine, River Grove, Sugar Grove, Villa Park, West Chicago, Warrenville and the Illinois State Troopers for their commitment to help support riders along the course. 

Save the date for the 9th annual Ride for Autism Speaks, scheduled to take place on Sunday, September 18, 2011. To learn more about Autism Speaks and to find out how to become involved, visit or call 224-567-8573.

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. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit

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.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Dana Morris
    o: 224-567-8573
    c: 224-612-1802
    Email Contact