Sobering Stats and an Appeal

It’s been a while, so I thought I’d update everyone on the fundraising for my walk for autism research next month. First, I want to thank those of you who have generously pledged to support me and my family on this walk. It’s really touching to see how many of you have decided to help us reach our goal. It can be very easy for Katie and me, as we dive into the day-to-day challenges of helping our kids navigate their special challenges, to lose sight of all the wonderful people around us. But donations like yours remind us that we’re not alone in this. So again, thank you for your help!

I also wanted to let you all know that there’s still time to pledge for our family at the walk, which takes place on September 29. We are more than halfway toward our goal, but we still have a ways to go. Even if you give just a little, you’ll be getting us that much closer to our goal—and that much closer to forcing me to dye a puzzle piece in my hair!

Of course, the blue hair is just a gimmick. It’s just a fun way to throw down the gauntlet. The real issue is funding to support research into autism spectrum disorders—and the need for this research is great.

Did you know that autism is one of the least funded of childhood disorders, even though it is the fastest-growing? As an example, muscular dystrophy research receives about $162 million a year in private funding, while autism research receives only $79 million a year. But autism touches approximately 1 in 88 people, while muscular dystrophy touches only 1 in 100,000 people.

Similarly, pediatric AIDS, which receives approximately $395 million a year in private funding, affects 1 in 300 people.

What’s more, despite its growing prevalence and the huge burden it places on society (about $137 billion a year), autism research receives only 0.6% of the NIH annual budget.

Mind you, I don’t begrudge the muscular dystrophy or pediatric AIDS people a dime of the money they need. I’d like to see them receive more. But these statistics show how far we have to go in helping researchers understand this complex, mysterious thing called autism.

So if you want to help—or if you just want to make me look a little silly—click on this link and make a pledge.

Thanks, everyone! I really do appreciate your friendship and your support.

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