My work gives me the opportunity to witness the importance of autism research first hand—through our work with affected children and their families.
So this year, when I registered for the New York Marathon, there was no question but that I would run to raise funds for Autism Speaks. When I set the goal of raising $2,000, our clinical coordinator jokingly asked our lab director, Charles Nelson, if he was willing to shave his mustache for Autism Speaks. [Editor’s Note: Renowned in the autism field, Charles Nelson, PhD, is a professor of pediatrics and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, the chair of pediatric developmental medicine research at Children’s Hospital, Boston, and the recipient of three past Autism Speaks research grants.]
Now you have to understand that Chuck grew this mustache in 1978 and had NEVER shaved it off in all those years. He agreed on the spot—but only if I upped the fundraising ante to $5,000. He laughed, thinking there was no way I could raise that much money.
Soon after that, we created a Facebook group called: “Want to See Chuck Nelson without a Mustache and Support Autism Research at the same time?” The kicker was the “Pub Night” fundraising event at Clery’s, in Boston. That got me over the top.
True to his word, Dr. Nelson shaved his mustache in support of Autism Speaks on October 7th! “Talk about being exposed…” he said. Doesn’t look bad, does he?