SOURCE: Autism Speaks Los Angeles

Autism Speaks Los Angeles

March 14, 2011 10:23 ET

Lakers Media Traveling Party Creates Groundswell of Support for Autism Speaks Los Angeles

John Ireland and Andrew D. Bernstein Support the Autism Walk Through Giving

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - March 14, 2011) - Becoming the largest individual fundraiser for the Los Angeles Walk Now for Autism Speaks after only 3 short weeks is no small feat, but Lakers Broadcaster John Ireland has done it. Ireland is currently the largest individual fundraiser of the Los Angeles walk, raising almost $17,000 in three weeks time.

After having recently joked that he would walk home if the Lakers lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ireland revised his promise after the loss, finding motivation from his personal connection to a loved one diagnosed with autism.

Inspired by autism in his own family, Ireland signed up for the autism walk and set a fundraising goal of $2344, the distance in miles between Los Angeles and Cleveland. Ireland will walk for autism wherever he is on April 23, which is dependent on the Lakers' record during NBA playoffs.

With big-name donors such as Jamie McCourt, Jim Hill, Jeanie Buss, Janie Drexel, and T.J. Simers, Ireland surpassed his goal within a day and is continuing his record-breaking individual fundraising through his on-air mentions on KCAL 9 and ESPN 710 radio.

"One of the biggest problems with Autism is that a lot of people don't understand it, and it can affect people differently. Autism Speaks has been the leader in getting the word out about this condition and the need for more help. The fact that I've been able to raise thousands more than I ever expected means people are listening. Hopefully, this walk will help spread the word that we're in a fight -- and it takes everyone's help," says Ireland of his generosity in support of Autism Speaks.

Another member of the Lakers traveling party, twenty-nine year sports photography veteran Andrew D. Bernstein will donate expert photographic services to capture Walk Now for Autism Speaks Los Angeles for a third consecutive year, bringing the same expertise he uses to cover Jordan's, Magic's, Kobe's and Griffin's dunks to the Autism Walk. Bernstein hopes to have a book signing in support of Autism Speaks LA for his new book 'Journey to the Ring.'

Bernstein says, "I am amazed at what one dedicated individual can do. Thanks to John and everyone in sports and entertainment for their support of such a worthy cause." Bernstein has a nephew diagnosed with autism and will be walking and fundraising through his team Andrew Bernstein & Mariel Mulet & Family.

ABOUT WALK NOW FOR AUTISM SPEAKS: The 9th annual Los Angeles Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2011 event will take place April 23, 2011 in Pasadena. The 2010 walk hosted 20,000 people and raised $1.3M at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.

ABOUT AUTISM SPEAKS: Autism Speaks is the world's largest autism advocacy organization, dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

ABOUT AUTISM: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), autism now affects 1% or 1 in every 110 American children, including 1 in 70 boys. Autism is a complex condition that affects a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges.

ABOUT JOHN IRELAND: As the Lakers Reporter for KCBS/KCAL 9 and ESPN 710 AM Radio Host of Mason & Ireland, John Ireland is immersed in Lakers nation. Ireland can be found as the "roving reporter" for KCAL 9 baseball and basketball broadcasts. He has won two Emmy awards for best sportscast for his work at KUSI-TV in San Diego previous to KCAL.

Since 1983, Andrew D. Bernstein Associates has photographed and developed a unique personal rapport with the world's leading professional athletes. Bernstein's work frequently appears in magazines such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN, The Sporting News, Time, Newsweek and more. Recent projects involved photographic coverage of the 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2008 United States Olympic basketball teams and advertising campaigns featuring some of the world's top athletes for Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Icy Hot.

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