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Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to Serve as Honorary Chair for Fifth Annual Westchester-Fairfield Walk for Autism Research on Sunday, June 4


NEW YORK (May 16, 2006) - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) will serve as the honorary chair for the fifth annual Westchester-Fairfield Walk for Autism Research on Sunday, June 4, it was announced today by Walk Co-Chairs Carol Christiaanse, Nancy McCarthy and Alison Singer. The Walks for Autism Research – which will be held in 43 locations across the country throughout the year -- are the signature fundraising events of Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism and raising money to fund autism research.

“Events like the Westchester-Fairfield Walk for Autism Research are critical to raising awareness and literally taking the steps necessary to educate the public about autism,” Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said. “It is truly a great pleasure to serve as honorary chair. I'm certain that through the convergence of scientific, academic, public and political programs we can successfully develop treatments and hopefully a cure for autism.”

The Westchester-Fairfield Walk for Autism Research will be held on the campus of Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, bringing together thousands of volunteers, people with autism and their families. The approximately two-mile walk will begin promptly at 10 a.m. Last year's Westchester-Fairfield walk raised more than $725,000 to support autism research and attracted over 7000 walkers.

Established by the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) in 2000, Walk for Autism Research events have attracted hundreds of thousands of walkers worldwide who have raised over 30 million dollars for autism research. NAAR and Autism Speaks combined operations in February 2006.

“We are honored that Senator Clinton has agreed to support this important event, which raises a significant amount of money for critical scientific research,” said Singer. “The walk is a very special day, when individuals with autism, their families and friends join together with the entire community to highlight the need for greater autism awareness and to express our hope that we'll find answers to this mysterious disorder.”

Senator Clinton is a co-sponsor of the Combating Autism Act, currently pending in Congress. The bill calls for federal spending of $176 million dollars annually for the next five years to support autism research, screening, intervention and educational efforts. It would increase resources in every state for the early diagnosis and treatment of children with autism.

For more information about participating in the walk, visit the Westchester-Fairfield Walk for Autism Research website at www.autismwalk.org/westfair.


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 one in 166 children, 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

Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of the growing autism epidemic and to raising money to fund scientists who are searching for a cure. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman and Executive Officer, General Electric, and Chairman and CEO, NBC Universal. Autism Speaks and the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) recently combined operations, bringing together two of the leading organizations dedicated to accelerating and funding biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism spectrum disorders; to increasing awareness of the nation's fastest growing developmental disorder; and to advocating for the needs of affected families. To learn more about Autism Speaks, visit www.autismspeaks.org