Celebrities Lend Star Power to 'Chase the Hope for Autism' and $1 Million in Autism Funding

Jan 20, 2010, 07:00 ET from National Autism Association

Chase Community Giving provides opportunity for expanded autism assistance programs

NEW YORK, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Jim Carrey, Jenny McCarthy and Deirdre Imus are among the celebrities tweeting and posting to Facebook, urging people to cast their votes for the National Autism Association (NAA) in Chase Community Giving on Facebook.  NAA is the only autism organization competing for $1 million dollars to be awarded to the charity receiving the most votes by this Friday, January 22.

(Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090918/NAALOGO )

Autism rates have risen sharply in recent years, with one in 110 children now diagnosed with the disorder.  Non-profit organizations including the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism and the HollyRod Foundation have gotten involved in the effort to shed light on what has become a national health emergency. "Autism is the fastest growing childhood disorder in the country, yet is woefully underfunded," said NAA board chair and parent Lori McIlwain. "Facebook users have a unique opportunity to direct this funding where it is desperately needed."  

The $1 million award would allow NAA to significantly broaden its existing assistance programs which address the most critical needs among families impacted by autism.  These programs include Helping Hand which assists families in funding desperately needed treatments and therapies for their children, and FOUND which was established to combat the rise in wandering-related deaths in the autism community. "One million dollars would have a huge impact on our ability to reach those who need our help the most," commented Ms. McIlwain.

In addition to its family care programs, NAA advocates for the most relevant scientific research, legislation for access to medical care, coverage for medical and safety devices, services and support over the life span and protection from abuse towards individuals with autism.  The award money would allow for enhanced legislative and educational efforts for these crucial issues facing thousands of families nationwide.

Other autism groups supporting NAA in the Chase challenge include the Age of Autism, AutismOne, Autism Research Institute, Autism Speaks, Generation Rescue, SafeMinds, the Schafer Autism Report, Talk About Curing Autism, and Unlocking Autism.

"I urge everyone on Facebook to vote for the National Autism Association so that more families struggling to find real help for their children can get that assistance," said Ms. McIlwain. "We have no greater challenge before us than finding relief for these kids."

To vote for NAA in Chase Community Giving on Facebook, go to


To share "Chase the Hope" messages with friends on Facebook, visit http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/chase/share.htm


Rita Shreffler (Nixa, MO) 401-632-6452

Wendy Fournier (Portsmouth, RI) 401-835-5828

SOURCE National Autism Association