Unconditional love and passion enveloped the more than 225 guests of the white-washed room at The Nantucket Hotel on Sunday night for the Kick-Off of the Walk Now for Autism Speaks Nantucket Walk. The unconditional love and passion arose from Bob and Suzanne Wright, the co-founders of Autism Speaks and autism grandparents. But, it was clear the crowd was truly reflecting it back to them.
Suzanne moved the packed crowd of influential Nantucket residents and supporters to tears as she recalled the heartbreak of her grandson Christian’s diagnosis, and how his silence has led both Suzanne and Bob to find voices they never knew they had—to be the collective voice for the 70-million children, teens and adults with autism worldwide. There was no hiding from Christian’s diagnosis, she said. The only option was to teach everyone about the disorder, and at the same time- invest in real science to help explain what’s going on inside the body. And, so she recanted how they’ve mobilized the best and the brightest and just this year – extended their Light It Up Blue campaign to all seven continents! The crowd was in awe as they watched monuments and buildings in 101-countries aglow a bright blue! That’s passion!
Bob Wright, during his part of the evening presentation, further detailed what Autism Speaks is currently work on in the areas of advocacy, education, science and law, highlighting the first results of the 10K Autism Genome Project which was just announced in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Thirty-two families affected by autism were studied in total. The entire DNA sequence was identified, he said, and then scientists linked genetic changes to autistic symptoms in some people. In total, Autism Speaks has spent approximately 195 million dollars on research.
The evening was a huge success because of the dedication of co-chairs Susan Karger and Abby Perelman. The Walk Now for Autism Speaks Nantucket Walk is on August 17th at Jetties Beach on Nantucket Island.