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Autism Speaks and The Home Depot Team Up to Shine a Light on World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month

NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 28, 2012) – Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, and The Home Depot® have partnered for a second year to shine a light on autism during Autism Awareness Month in April and World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. The Home Depot will sell blue Defiant LED lanterns and blue light bulbs starting March 15th, offering people across the United States and Canada the opportunity to raise autism awareness through the third annual Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue initiative. A portion of each sale will go to Autism Speaks to fund research, advocacy, family services, and awareness for families struggling with this disorder.

“We are excited to partner with The Home Depot for the second year in a row and appreciate its efforts to help raise funds and awareness of autism,” said Pat Kemp, Autism Speaks executive vice president of Marketing, Corporate Relations and Development. “Thanks to The Home Depot’s support, we can encourage everyone, to join the Light It Up Blue campaign by purchasing a blue lantern or light bulb.”

The light bulbs retail for $1.99 and $1 from each one purchased, up to $200,000 will benefit Autism Speaks. The Defiant LED lanterns retail at $14.88 and $1 from each, up to $ 45,000, will go to Autism Speaks. The lantern alternates from white to blue when illuminated. The Home Depot arranged for the specially marked Light It Up Blue Defiant products to be manufactured and distributed throughout all of its stores in the United States and Canada from March 15 through the end of April, or while supplies last.

Last year, the Light It Up Blue campaign garnered the support of over 2,000 buildings and landmarks across the globe that illuminated in bright blue on the evenings of April 1 and 2 in an effort to shine a bright light on autism as a growing public health crisis. This year’s Light It Up Blue campaign is expected to receive even more support as families, communities, businesses and iconic structures join together to raise autism awareness around the world. 

Autism Speaks has a special website, www.lightitupblue.org, to highlight the campaign. The website provides fun ideas and unique tips to get involved in Light It Up Blue and a photo gallery of past campaigns. The site also accepts donations to fund autism awareness and research efforts.

About Autism
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 110 children in North America is on the autism spectrum – a 600 percent increase in the past two decades that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed over $173 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 95 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org

About Home Depot
The Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer, with 2,252 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico and China. In fiscal 2011, The Home Depot had sales of $70.4 billion and earnings from continuing operations of $3.9 billion. The Company employs more than 300,000 associates. The Home Depot's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index.