Posts Tagged ‘Fundraising’

Autism Speaks 400 – Final Day

May 17, 2010 4 comments

This guest post is by Autism Speaks Blog contributor Kerry Magro.  Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a junior at Seton Hall University, majoring in Sports Management. He is currently working at Autism Speaks as a writer.

Sometimes you don’t have the words to express your amazement at a series of events.  That was me after witnessing the Autism Speaks 400 on Sunday, May 16.  But luckily for the readers, I’ve come back to earth and I’m ready to blog. Enjoy!

Sunday was another great day for driver Kyle Busch.  Busch dominated the weekend.  Almost winning Friday’s Camping Truck Series race, then winning Saturday‘s Heluva Good 200 Nationwide Series race.  On Sunday he completed his great weekend by winning the Sprint Cup Series Autism Speaks 400 Race. What made Kyle so special this weekend was his aggressive, winning attitude. I had the opportunity to watch Kyle accept his trophy in victory lane. That positive, winning mentality was evidenced by the smile on Kyle’s face as he accepted his award.  His confident winning manner is well known on the NASCAR circuit and indicates he will continue his winning ways.

Although many had Kyle winning before the race had even started, driver Jimmie Johnson was competed closely with Kyle all day long.  However, after 365 laps, Johnson had a disastrous pit stop.  He received a passing penalty, which put  him a lap down to Busch, ruining his chances to win. This led to Jimmie Johnson finishing in 16th place.

Two of Sunday’s best stories came from driver Jamie McMurray and FOX Sports Senior Executive and Autism Speaks Board Member Artie Kempner. Both of these gentlemen have done amazing work for NASCAR and also for Autism Speaks. Jamie spent several minutes talking to fans along with giving me an interview. Artie Kempner said it best, “Jamie does more than just drive a race car”. Jamie has a passion for helping others and his family has been touched by Autism. When asked about the race, Jamie said “This is a really cool weekend. Awareness is something unique to our sport. To have a race, not named after a bank or a product, it’s something very special. The race is something very special to me because my niece is autistic.”  Jamie, during the time with the fans signed several autographs and made a lot of people’s days just like mine; special.

As a final note of the day I would just like to thank Jamie, Artie Kempner and the Alpha Xi Delta Sorority for volunteering at three Autism Speaks booths outside of the race way. The Sorority sold Autism Speaks memorabilia to help in the fight against autism.  Finally, I’d like to thank everyone at Autism Speaks, NASCAR, and HERSHEY’S Milk & Milkshakes for such a great weekend.

I’m already looking forward to the race next year and am hoping you enjoyed the blog the past couple of days. As a bonus for our readers, below are several photos from this weekend’s events. Thank you all!

* Read the Day 1 Recap from the Autism Speaks 400
* Read the Day 2 Recap from the Autism Speaks 400

Autism Speaks 400 Day 2

May 16, 2010 5 comments

TUNE IN UPDATE: Coverage of the “Autism Speaks 400 Presented by HERSHEY’S® Milk & Milkshakes” will air on FOX Sports today, May 16, beginning at 12:00 p.m. EST.  Check your local listings for details.

This guest post is by Autism Speaks Blog contributor Kerry Magro.  Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a junior at Seton Hall University, majoring in Sports Management. He is currently working at Autism Speaks as a writer.

Hello all and welcome to Day 2 of Race Weekend! Saturday was a terrific day at Dover International Speedway. The day’s events surrounded the Nationwide Series Race. I was on the run all day but got an opportunity to meet several members of the Dollar General Stores Toyota racing team. Many thanks to them for letting me see some of the behind the scenes sights of Race Weekend. Yesterday would not have been the same without your generosity. Now moving on to the races…

Driver Kyle Busch (Combos Toyota) left Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race upset that he let his lead slip away in the final few laps. Saturday, Kyle was prepared to not let the same mistake occur. When the race day was done, Busch (who didn’t run out of fuel today after running out of gas in the Trucks Race) was victorious in the Heluva Good 200 Nationwide Series race (Saturday). Busch, who received a mix of boos and cheers all day from the race fans, shook the boos off as he took the checkered flag at the Monster Mile.  Busch will now try to go for back to back wins as he races Sunday in the Autism Speaks 400 Sprint Cup Series Race.

The other big story from Saturday came from drivers Jamie McMurray (K’Nex Chevrolet) and Reed Sorenson (Dollar General Stores Toyota). Both these drivers and their teams have meant a lot to Autism Speaks in spreading awareness of autism. Both drivers performed admirably with Jamie McMurray finishing in 3rd after starting in pole position 27 and Reed Sorenson finishing in 4th after starting in 14th. Both have a lot to be proud of from finishing as strongly as they did.

We are now down to our final day (Sunday) of Race Weekend. We here at Autism Speaks are expectantly waiting for a thrilling finish (the Autism 400) to what has been an amazing weekend. We will keep you posted through the Autism Speaks Blog (along with Twitter) all day long todayand hope you enjoy what is to come!

*Read the Day 1 Recap from the Autism Speaks 400 

Autism Speaks 400 Day 1

May 15, 2010 7 comments

TUNE IN UPDATE: Coverage of the “Autism Speaks 400 Presented by HERSHEY’S® Milk & Milkshakes” will air on FOX Sports this Sunday, May 16, beginning at 12:00 p.m. EST.  Check your local listings for details.

This guest post is by Autism Speaks Blog contributor Kerry Magro.  Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a junior at Seton Hall University, majoring in Sports Management. He is currently working at Autism Speaks as a writer.

Autism Speaks is off to the races! Today marked the first day of the Autism Speaks 400 Race Weekend presented by HERSHEY’S Milk & Milkshakes. This was my first day ever at a NASCAR race and first time in the great state of Delaware so I was very excited (to say the least) to be a part of this experience. For the next 3 days I will be sharing with you my thoughts from the races. Without further ado here we go!

Yesterday’s events included the qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday along with a Camping World Truck Series race. Starting off the day, we saw Martin Truex Jr. win the pole for Sunday’s race in his NAPA Toyota. He clocked a lap time of 157.315 mph and will now start the race in the inside of the first row (first pole position). A four time champion at Dover, he will have a chance to continue to build on his impressive Dover resume.

In the Camping World Truck Series race, Aric Amirola (driving for Toyota) won first prize. This was his first NASCAR Truck Race win. Defying expectations, he won this event after Kyle Busch led for a majority of the race.

This was a great way to start Dover Race Weekend. If the upset win of Amirola wasn’t enough, I had the thrill of seeing Autism Speaks blue and white logos painted on many of the cars racing today. These cars, with their logos, symbolize the commitment of Autism Speaks and NASCAR to the effort of autism awareness and finding a cure. One could compare the races to the search for a cure. It will be a long trip (400 miles on Sunday). But even though the race is long, regardless of who wins and who loses, the effort to spread autism awareness will be the ultimate winner when this race weekend is over.

*Read the Day 2 Recap from the Autism Speaks 400 

Get Ready for the Autism Speaks 400!

TUNE IN UPDATE: Coverage of the “Autism Speaks 400 Presented by HERSHEY’S® Milk & Milkshakes” will air on FOX Sports this Sunday, May 16, beginning at 12:00 P.M. EST.  Check your local listings for details.

This guest post is by Autism Speaks Blog contributor Kerry Magro.  Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a junior at Seton Hall University, majoring in Sports Management. He is currently working at Autism Speaks as a writer.

Autism Speaks and NASCAR have joined once again. For the fourth consecutive year, the Autism Speaks 400 race weekend will be held at Dover International Speedway from May 14-15. The event is made possible through the strong partnership of Autism Speaks, The Dover Speedway and Hershey’s Milk & Milkshakes.

As someone new to the NASCAR world, I’m very excited about the events that will be coming up.  I’m transitioning from final exams at college and traveling to the glamorous world of big time motor sports. Aside from this great opportunity for me, this is a great event for Autism Speaks.  Not only will the race bring awareness to the issue of autism in this nation, a percentage of the proceeds from the race will go to the cause of finding a cure.

There will be fierce competition during this race weekend. Currently, the “Chase for the Sprint Cup” is between two drivers, points leader Kevin Harvick (1467) and Jimmie Johnson (1457).  Jimmie Johnson, a 4-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion could take over first with a strong performance this weekend.

All of us at Autism Speaks are looking forward to a very exciting race and will keep you updated on (via the blog) on all the events that occur during race weekend.

Basic Info: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Autism Speaks 400

  • Where: Dover International Speedway
  • Partnership: Dover Speedway, Autism Speaks, Hershey’s Milk & Milkshakes
  • When: May 14-16, 2010 race weekend
  • “Autism Speaks 400 presented by Hershey’s Milk & Milkshakes.”

“Tip Off for a Cure”

April 29, 2010 6 comments

This guest post is by Autism Speaks Blog contributor Kerry Magro.

Dikembe Mutumbo and Kerry Magro

Hello all. My name is Kerry Magro and this is my first-ever post on the Autism Speaks Blog. I’m currently a junior at Seton Hall University, majoring in Sports Management and have been recently hired by Autism Speaks as a writer.  I first got involved with Autism Speaks through activities, like the Walks. Since then, I’ve met a lot of great people who are committed to spreading autism awareness. As someone on the autism spectrum, I have joined many others on the spectrum as an advocate myself. Spreading autism awareness has always been a key focus for me. Now that we have introductions out of the way, I hope you will enjoy my first column.

Autism and basketball have successfully been linked in the news before.  An example, three years ago, was when the entire world was introduced to a high school water-boy, turned ESPY Winner, Jason McElwain.

And on Wednesday, April 14, Autism Speaks got into the action as they hosted an event called “Tip Off for a Cure” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s spectacular Temple of Dendur.  The Temple, bathed in blue lights for the evening, (in keeping with the  Autism Speaks Light it Up Blue  campaign theme)  served as the background for a  fundraising dinner gala  benefiting  Autism Speaks & The Gillen Brewer School of New York City. The prior year‘s event, called “Kick Off for a Cure” was retooled with a NBA theme. This year, with major sponsorship from the National Basketball Association foundation “NBA Cares,” the event was chaired by NBA Commissioner David Stern.  Commissioner Stern spoke and brought many members of the NBA family.

This star-studded event, filled with many NBA Legends such as Dikembe Mutumbo, Earl Monroe, Bob Lanier Jr., Gail Goodrich, John Starks, Albert King, Darryl Dawkins and Butch Beard was highlighted by the presence of one of the special honorees of the night, former NY Knicks, NBA player turned US Senator from New Jersey, Bill Bradley. I was privileged to talk to several of the former NBA players about their interest, motivations and participation in the event and the cause.

 “Autism is an Issue that needs to be looked into. Every little bit counts,” former NY Nets player Cliff Robinson said, when discussing his reasons for attending “NBA Cares” events. “They asked me to come out and I couldn’t say no.”

Along with the NBA Players, many prominent business figures were in attendance. Present were Vice Chairman & Global Head of Mergers and Acquisitions at Morgan Stanley Robert A. Kindler and President, CEO and Director of Alcoa Klaus Kleinfield.

While basketball and autism were the two dominant themes of the night, hearing some of the main speakers such as Marv Albert, Suzanne and Bob Wright and especially, Taylor Crowe, made the night truly magical. Taylor Crowe, Bill Bradley’s cousin, who is on the autism spectrum, spoke about his life and his struggles growing up on the autism spectrum. Taylor, who confidently walked to the podium when he was asked to speak by David Stern, addressed the audience for 15 minutes about his life experiences. “You are only doomed if you give up”, Taylor said in relation to his struggles with autism during the years.

No one summed it up better than Autism Speaks co-founder Suzanne Wright: “Autism is on the run because Autism Speaks is after it.”, she continued “Michael Jordan once said, ‘Obstacles don’t have to stop you.’ If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it and that is exactly what we do at Autism Speaks.”

I had a lot of great discussions with the guests and wanted to post some of these people’s thoughts so you can see the importance of what Autism Speaks is doing.

The only people who are doomed are those who give up” – Taylor Crowe:  28-year-old honoree, who has autism

Autism is an issue that needs to be looked into. Every little bit counts.” – former NJ Nets player Clifford Robinson

Autism is one of those epidemics that is attacking the fabric of our society right now.” – former NY Knicks and Houston Rockets player Dikembe Mutumbo:

I have a daughter, an 11 year old with Downs Syndrome so this is something I really appreciate and can get into. I reap the benefits from functions like this and to see the kids and see how independent they are its awesome, it’s awesome! I don’t know what it is, but these kids have so much more going on that I wish we could see it the way they see it.  This is my first event and I’m enjoying it.” - former Detroit Pistons and Utah Jazz player Darryl Dawkins

A friend of mine has a son who has autism, and as far as my connection with the organization I’m here because the NBA gave me a call and its definitely an issue that really needs to be looked at. New York is a great city, and a very charitable city and what a better place to raise money and to raise awareness for autism than to have it in this beautiful museum, it makes it even better.” - former NY Knicks player John Starks.   

Everyone shared former Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks player, Bob Lanier Jr.’s enthusiasm when he spoke about how excited he was to be at the event: “Well, I traveled a long way to come here because I believe in the cause. David Stern is chairing this event and has been a difference maker all around the world.  Our great athletes are are here to support a wonderful cause and trying to raise not only  awareness about it, because it is not something a lot of us know about. It affects a lot of boys at a very young age. Trying to figure it all out  – got to raise awareness, raise funds and utilize resources and that is what the NBA does really well. I’ve been doing stuff  all around the world for NBA Cares. By raising awareness and using the resources  of NBA Cares, our  brand and our players, we can help draw attention to these needy causes.”

Felipe Lopez of the Orlando Magic commented: “You can look around and see all the top-notch people that are around.  We have to support it – it is a great cause. I am more than thrilled to be part of this event it as an ambassador for NBA cares. I was informed about a month ago about this event and was very excited to attend.  NBA tries to be in programs to help. We always  have to fight to make other peoples lives better. I think it’s a situation where we have to come together and we make it better.”

Rory Sparrow, former Lakers player said, “Autism is one of the major concerns in my country. Autism is so interesting. This interests me, what causes it and ways to prevent it.”

Former NBA all-star Dikembe Mutombo is no stranger to charitable causes.  He built the $30 million, 300-bed Biamba Maria Mutombo Hospital for children back in his home country of Congo. He said, “Autism is something that is a concern for all of us. For so long no one wanted to talk about it; now this being a big issue in our society. We, as parents, need to learn more. As a global ambassador for NBA Cares, I am speaking about concerns facing our youth. Since so many NBA players have children with autism, it is personal issue for us. We are feeling it at home, not just from the outside. But autism is treatable, especially when it is diagnosed early on.”

In response to the question, “Do you believe with the help of a group like Autism Speaks fundraising and raising awareness, can there someday be a cure for autism? He responded with a resounding, “Why not! We have to find a cure. 1 in 110 kids are affected. Maybe we can do better if we put our minds and money behind the cause, and we can do it.”

At the end of the night, as icing on the cake, it was announced that the event had raised more than a million dollars. What a great atmosphere and a great success!  One theme dominated the night – The NBA and NBA Cares truly care about the issue of autism and will be with Autism Speaks every step of the way!

Read more about “Tip Off for a Cure” and view photos and video footage here.

Butch Beard with Kerry Magro

An Even Sweeter 16

April 23, 2010 28 comments

My name is Meghan des Groseilliers and I’m a sophomore at Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, Delaware. My 10-year-old brother Robby was diagnosed with PDD/NOS eight years ago. Over the years, living with autism has deeply impacted me.  I have watched my brother both struggle and succeed daily in most everything he does. Because of this experience, I wanted to make a difference for children diagnosed with autism and their families. I  have walked for Cure Autism Now and subsequently, Autism Speaks. So the choice of this organization, which is near and dear to my heart, as the recipient of a fundraiser was a simple one. For my “Sweet 16” birthday party on March 20, I invited 150 of my friends to a dance party at a local fire hall. Instead of receiving birthday gifts, I asked my friends to make a donation to Autism Speaks and we raised $3,200. There were three key reasons for doing this, the first of which was to help Autism Speaks help families like mine.  But the other two reasons were just as important. First, the party helped raise awareness of autism with teens in my community.  It was remarkable to see the number of raised hands when Christina Carty (Greater Delaware Valley Regional Walk Director) asked how many people had a family member or knew of somebody affected by autism. This is important because we need to know that there are others out there to talk to about our common feelings and struggles. The video and statistics shown at the party gave us a clear picture of the proliferation of autism and the limited funding it receives. Finally, this party was an incredible lesson in giving and I hope other kids will do the same with a charity of their choice. In the end, we all had a great time socializing and dancing for a wonderful cause. Even Robby danced and enjoyed the party as well, showing my friends that even though he’s on the spectrum, he’s no different than them – he’s a kid who wants to have a great time in support of a great cause.

Meghan des Groseilliers with Autism Speaks' Christina Carty

Young Professionals Winter Gala Raises Over $33,000

January 12, 2010 Leave a comment

More than 200 guests attended the AS2YP Winter Gala. Photo by Josh Wong.

NYC celebrity hotspot SL hosted more than 200 young professionals, on the evening of January 7, for the second in the Autism Speaks to Young Professionals (AS2YP) event series, raising over $33,000. The Winter Gala, hosted by event co-chairs Amanda Niederauer and Danny Ryan, offered guests an open bar, delicious appetizers by Abe & Arthur’s chef Franklin Becker and dancing to tunes spun by DJs Caleb Loftus and Nick Russo. The hundreds of guests complemented their fashionable attire, and raised autism awareness, by sporting the Autism Speaks puzzle pin.

The inaugural summer event, held at the Stock Exchange, sold out three days before the event and raised over $40,000. Danielle Yango, who attended both events, commented, “It was so great to be at events where everyone there was inspired by and engaged in the reason for being there – to raise autism awareness and to raise funds for Autism Speaks. Despite twenty-somethings not having a lot of money to spare, the event was filled with people wanting to do and give more. Change and improvement only happen when people take action, and this event is a prime example of people actively participating!”

Another guest, committee member Hallie Elsner remarked, “Despite the frigid temperature in New York City, it was amazing to see how many people made it out to support the first event of the year for AS2YP. It was a great way to kick off 2010!” Caite Kappel, another committee member in attendance, agreed, “It was great to have so many passionate people together in one amazing venue. The event went a long way to promote awareness of the disorder and I was thrilled to hear about all the money that was raised.  I can’t wait for the next event!” 

The event, described as “fun,” “hip,” and “trendy” by the guests in attendance attracted not only people who have a loved one with autism, but people who wanted to learn more about the disorder. Throughout the evening, a presentation on the television screens reinforced the CDC’s most recent findings that 1 in 110 children has autism.

Joshua Feldman, an active supporter of Autism Speaks and an ASY2P committee member  said, “After participating in both Autism Speaks and AS2YP events, I realize the attendees to both are instrumental in the future of autism awareness and research. I think the AS2YP Winter Gala was extremely successful, because while other events may raise more money near-term, this event opened the eyes of tomorrow’s benefactors who can support Autism Speaks and its goals in the future.” 

Event co-chair, Amanda Niederauer, hopes to expand the success of the Young Professionals events to other cities across the country. Amanda said, “I am so happy that the event was such a huge success. With the statistics so drastically increased to 1 in 110 children, our work is even more important. I think we have a terrific thing started with the Young Professionals series, and it is such an honor to be involved in spreading awareness to the next generation of parents.”

Special thanks to our co-chairs, committee members, guests, and sponsors – Manhattan Beer Distributors, Montecastelli Selections, RBS and Alacrity Financial.

Become a fan of AS2YP on Facebook at to stay up-to-date with events and check out event photos by Josh Wong. The AS2YP event series will return to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange this August.

Check out coverage and photos from the event:

Guest of a Guest

Scene B Seen, llc


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