WAYNE, NJ (May 17, 2007) -- Today, Toys "R" Us and the Toys "R" Us Children's Fund announced that their nationwide campaign to benefit Autism Speaks raised more than $1.1 million to support crucial autism research and advocacy. For seven weeks, as part of Autism Awareness Month, all Toys "R" Us stores across the country, and www.toysrus.com, collected cash donations in an effort to help solve the puzzle of autism. All money raised during the campaign will go directly to Autism Speaks to fund important autism research programs and help provide a voice for children affected by the disorder.
"We were truly gratified by the tremendous outpouring of support we received from our customers, employees, and communities for this initiative that will further the important works of Autism Speaks," said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys "R" Us, Inc. "The mission of the Toys "R" Us Children's Fund is to help children in need, and we are pleased that our fundraising efforts will benefit the more than 1.5 million kids and families in the United States impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders."
In conjunction with the fundraising campaign, Toys "R" Us created the "Ten Toys That Speak to Autism," a unique resource for families, friends and caregivers of children with autism. This special list features everyday toys that promote skills that contribute to an autistic child's development. The list also includes early warning signs of autism to provide customers with important information on the disorder. The list continues to be available at www.Toysrus.com/autismspeaks.
"We are thrilled with the results of the Toys "R" Us in-store fundraising campaign, which far exceeded our expectations," said Mark Roithmayr, President of Autism Speaks. "Toys "R" Us has been a tremendous partner and because of its dedication to this campaign we are one step closer to finding a cure for autism."
In addition to the fundraising campaign, Toys "R" Us currently serves as the national sponsor of the Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism program, a series of more than 60 fundraising walk events occurring over ten months in cities from coast-to-coast. Across the country, Toys "R" Us employees are joining in the effort by forming teams in their local communities to participate in the walk events.
ABOUT TOYS "R" US, INC.
Toys "R" Us is the world's leading specialty toy retailer. Currently it sells merchandise through more than 1,500 stores, including 586 stores in the U.S. and 678 international toy stores, which includes licensed and franchise stores, and through its Internet site at http://www.toysrus.com/. Babies "R" Us is the largest baby product specialty store chain in the world and a leader in the juvenile industry, and sells merchandise through 251 stores in the U.S. as well as on the Internet at http://www.babiesrus.com/.
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 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
Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and 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 Chairman of NBC Universal and Vice Chairman, General Electric. 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, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.