Home > Awareness, Co-founders, Light It Up Blue > Empire State Building Lights Up Blue

Empire State Building Lights Up Blue

On April 1,  Autism Speaks volunteers and supporters went the Empire State Building to flip the ceremonial switch to turn the building’s lights blue for the second year in a row. Bob and Suzanne Wright greeted the crowd and spoke about the over 1000 buildings around the world that are turning blue tonight in celebration of the fourth annual World Autism Awareness Day. They were joined by Emil Jensen Perez, a young man with autism who asked the Empire State Building to light blue for autism in 2008. Emil’s family are top walkers in the Westchester Walk Now for Autism Speaks. In addition, Grammy Award-winning singer and mother of a 9 year old boy with autism Toni Braxton greeted the crowd and shared her story of when her son was diagnosed.

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  1. Heather
    April 1, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Hi: I am kind of bummed because I thought I was going to see a bigger picture of the Empire State Building all lit up in blue. There was one but super small!
    -Heather

  2. April 1, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    I adore this poem called, “Welcome to Holland,” which Allison Ziering Walmark posted. She is an amazing individual with an incredible sense of humor. Her ability to make others laugh is a gift to the world. But her greatest gifts are her two children. Her 5-year-old son, Ethan has an adorable, healthy, rosy, cherub, angelic face and plays the piano like a little Billy Joel and sings like Justin Beber. You would never, EVER know by looking at him that he has Autism. What does the face of Autism look like? It’s a beautiful one like Ethan’s face. Behind each beautiful, healthy face is a story and a struggle. Allison shared the following poem, which she feels perfectly illustrates that struggle of families like her own, living with Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder. I posted it here because when Autism Speaks, we need to LISTEN. Please donate to this cause. Thank you. ~Maria Dorfner, founder, NewsMD Communications

    Welcome to Holland
    by Emily Perl Kingsley

    “I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this…

    When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans: the Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may even learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

    After several months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says “Welcome to Holland.”

    “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I dreamed of going to Italy.”

    But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

    The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

    So you must go out and but new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

    It’s just a different place. It’s slower placed than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there awhile you begin to notice that Holland has windmills… and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

    But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

    And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

    But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things… about Holland.”

    Many thanks for your continued support,
    Michael, Allison, Ethan and ElizaSee More
    about an hour ago · UnlikeLike · 1 personYou like this.

  3. April 2, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Yesterday and Today we light up our lives BLUE for Autism Awareness! This tribute is for my beautiful 9 year old son who continues to make amazing progress and gives us a heart full of HOPE!

    Love you Colt. Mom

  4. Nicole
    April 11, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Maria,
    I love your analogy about the airplane ride and landing in Holland. I was very dead set on what I wanted for my baby girl. When it was even suggested that she had an ASD, I burst into tears in front of her speech therapist and other parents. When I realized that Bella was the same Bella prior to having the label and I accepted the extra help for her. I was amazed at what a difference the ABA has done. I did not realize that her first speech therapist also worked on ABA with her and when I transfered to a different duty station all we had was speech. She did great with speech and still met milestones but her behavior was terrible and led me and daycare to realize there was more going on. Thank god for both the for all the care we have received. It had made a differnce and she is still behind but is still with her age group. Your dreams can still be fulfilled with your child and he or she may even surprise you with a whole new and better dream of something way more awesome than what you had anticipated prior to having him or her. I think that is kinda what you were trying to explain to others too in your journey with your child. If you are ever feeling down check out James Durbin on American Idol. My daughter loves him. Also check out the prom king in Florida. They are pretty cool people and big inspirations.

    • June 22, 2011 at 2:54 am

      Hi Nicole, The analogy about the airplane ride and landing in Holland is by Allison Ziering Wallmark. She shared the journey with her child. Thank you for sharing your story too. It’s helps when people know they are not alone. I love what you said about new dreams, something more amazing than expected surprising you through your child. Beautiful thought. Best, Maria

  5. December 13, 2011 at 7:01 am

    Toni Braxton is such a trooper, from being a super celebrity and continuing to press on and stay positive with her son who is autistic and even herself living with lupus. God bless her!

  1. April 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm
  2. April 2, 2011 at 12:29 am
  3. April 2, 2011 at 12:32 am
  4. April 2, 2011 at 5:05 am

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