From left, Autism Speaks board member Eric London, Zach London, Carole Mirkin, Gary Mirkin, Michael Giangregorio, and Karen London
The 2007 London Award in recognition of outstanding service to the organization was given to Michael Giangregorio and the Mirkin family. The award was presented at a March 16 awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The Mirkin family—Carole, Gary, and Josh—have been enthusiastic supporters and volunteers for autism since 1993, when the National Alliance for Autism Research, or NAAR, was founded. Since that time, their energy and commitment have only grown stronger.
Carole Mirkin has been instrumental in the ongoing success of the Long Island Walk. She served as the logistics chair in its formative years, then in 2004 chaired both the kickoff luncheon and awards reception, which were enjoyed by hundreds of other volunteers. In 2005 and 2006. Carole took her involvement to a new level by becoming co-chair of the Long Island Walk. In that capacity, she oversaw Autism Speaks' highest-grossing walks worldwide, with $1.2 million raised in 2005 and a record-breaking $2 million raised in 2006. Carole's innovative ideas including “Gold for the Goal” added to raising awareness and funds for autism research, and she continues to be committed to achieving this goal on behalf of her nephew Zachary London.
As the first webmaster for the NAAR.org website, Gary Mirkin was instrumental in establishing NAAR's presence on the web and for laying the technological groundwork that allowed NAAR to incorporate the use of online fundraising as a critically important business practice. When the NAAR.org site was outsourced to a vendor, Gary continued his commitment by serving as the webmaster for the Long Island Walk F.A.R. for NAAR website. In addition to his web work, Gary has served tirelessly as a committee member and day-of-event volunteer at all of the Long Island Walks.
Following his parents' inspirational examples, Josh Mirkin served as founding editor of Walk Talk beginning in 2004 until he was accepted into Dartmouth University. Josh designed, edited, and wrote many of the articles for this publication, which was sent out to all of the volunteers on Long Island and featured information on fundraising, outreach, and key volunteers. Josh also has served as a day-of-event volunteer at numerous Long Island Walks and other events. At the 2005 kickoff, Josh motivated the 600-plus audience members when he delivered a heartwarming speech about his special relationship with his cousin, Zachary London, and why he supports the Walk for Autism Research program.
In presenting the 2007 London Award to the Mirkins, Karen London, NAAR's co-founder, commended the family for creating a legacy of volunteer service by including the next generation in the work that they do. “You're all so magnificent in what you give of your heart and your soul to this cause,” she said.