Autism Speaks Co-Founders Honored with 2011 Leadership Award by Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE)
Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) paid tribute last evening to Autism Speaks Co-founders, Suzanne and Bob Wright, with the 2011 Leadership Award at a gala benefit in New York City. The Wrights were honored for their ongoing work with autism. Right now, up to 30% of children with autism also have epilepsy.
CURE Founder and Chair Susan Axelrod and her husband, David Axelrod, reported on CURE’s research progress and urged support for cutting-edge epilepsy research to make a future without epilepsy a reality.
During the event, Bob Wright announced a new partnership with CURE; a high-level autism and epilepsy research conference with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The collaboration between CURE, Autism Speaks, and the NIH will take place in spring 2012, and will be critical in developing joint research priorities to pave the way for breakthroughs and cures. “Through this partnership with Autism Speaks, CURE believes we will begin to expedite research to benefit both causes,” Axelrod commented.
“We want to extend our deepest gratitude to Susan and the Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy for honoring us,” said Bob Wright. “There are many commonalities between epilepsy and autism and neither have received the funding they merit based on their high prevalence. We are confident this partnership will help provide answers.”
George Stephanopoulos and Alexandra Wentworth returned as co-hosts of the benefit and special guest Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me” was the featured CURE auctioneer.
Also receiving awards were Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” were honored with the Excellence in Journalism Award for raising awareness of the challenges in finding a cure for epilepsy. Dr. Shlomo Shinnar, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Montefiore Medical Centerand the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, received the CURE Leadership in Epilepsy Research Award.
Since its inception in 1998, CURE has funded 116 research grants at 71 institutions across 28 states and 9 countries. The benefit raised over $700,000 for epilepsy research.