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The Philadelphia Walk Now for Autism Expected to Draw 10,000 Walkers and Raise $1 Million to Help Find Answers About the Nation's Fastest-Growing Developmental Disorder

- Increasing Awareness and Raising Funds to Support Autism Research -

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 10,000 people, including individuals with autism, their families and friends, will come together on September 15 for Autism Speaks/Cure Autism Now's 5th annual Philadelphia Walk Now for Autism raising funds for the nation's fastest-growing developmental disorder, now diagnosed 1 in every 150 children. Funding will support research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and a cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder.

Walk Now for Autism is a 5K (3.1 miles) family walk, autism community resource fair and family fun day at Citizens Bank Park and is expected to raise a million dollars for the national advocacy organization Autism Speaks/Cure Autism Now.

Last year, the Philadelphia walk raised $750,000 and more than $18 million was raised nationally at walks held at multiple locations across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Walk Now for Autism Philadelphia registration begins at 8 a.m.; the opening ceremony, emceed by CBS 3 news anchor Larry Mendte, begins at 9:30 a.m.; the Walk begins at 10 am. The resource fair is open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will include educational resources, therapists, schools, recreational organizations and creative child-friendly activities. There is no fee to participate in the Walk.

To register, donate or for information, call 1-(888)-8-AUTISM or visit Walkers are encouraged to sign up in advance and to form teams to add to the fun and the fundraising.

"There are thousands of families who have children with autism and thousands more who love those children and their families," says Marciarose Shestack, mother of Cure Autism Now's co-founder and grandmother of Dov (now 15 years old) who was diagnosed at 18 months. "The Walk is our opportunity to gather and to support the efforts that can make a difference in their lives."

Walk Now for Autism Co-Chairs:

Stacey Fliegelman and Greg Fanelli, both parents of children with autism.

Walk Now for Autism Philadelphia Major Sponsors:

Toys "R" Us and the Toys "R" Us Children's Fund proudly serve as the national sponsor of the Autism Speaks/Cure Autism Now Walk Now for Autism program. Other sponsors include (as of press time) Chevrolet, Event Mover, Janssen, Viacom Outdoor, Spectrum Publications, Babytalk, CBS 3, CW 57, KYW Newsradio, The Big Talker 1210 (WPHT), 610 WIP Sports Radio, 98.1 WOGL, 94 WYSP, Innovex, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Adient, Direct Image and Design, Best Buy.


About Autism

Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism Spectrum Disorders are diagnosed in 1 in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

About Autism Speaks/Cure Autism Now

Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism, and to advocating for the needs of affected families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman, General Electric, and served as chief executive officer of NBC for more than twenty years.

Cure Autism Now was founded by native Philadelphian and Hollywood film producer, Jonathan Shestack and his wife, Portia Iverson and is an organization of parents, clinicians and leading scientists committed to accelerating the pace of biomedical research in autism through research, education and outreach. Since its inception in 1995, Cure Autism Now has committed millions to research, outreach and treatments and established and maintained the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE).

Autism Speaks has merged with both the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation's three leading autism advocacy organizations.

To learn more about Autism Speaks/Cure Autism Now, please visit To learn more about Walk Now for Autism Philadelphia, please call 1-888-8AUTISM (828-8476) or visit

SOURCE Autism Speaks/Cure Autism Now
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