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Wachovia Supports Autism Research

All 52 Wachovia Financial Centers in Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties are launching a new “Footprints” program in June to benefit the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and raise funds for autism research.

The program, which runs from Tuesday, June 1 to Saturday, June 12, invites Wachovia customers to purchase blue or green footprints at the teller windows for a donation of $1 or $5. All proceeds benefit NAAR to fund biomedical autism research.

“We are thrilled that Wachovia is partnering with NAAR to advance research and find a cure for autism,” said Frank D'Amico, of West Deptford, NJ, a parent of a child with autism and co-founder of NAAR's newly formed Greater Delaware Valley chapter. “Wachovia's support of our new Footprints campaign will enable NAAR to fund research that will help the many families in our community whose lives are directly touched by autism.”

Wachovia branches will feature posters and general information on autism and NAAR that are designed to educate customers and employees about the disorder and the need for increased funding for biomedical research. Footprints purchased by customers will be displayed in the financial centers.

“Wachovia is proud to partner with NAAR,” said Susanne Svizeny, Wachovia regional president for southern New Jersey. “We have a personal stake in every area where our employees live and work, and this is an important way to positively impact some of our customers and neighbors in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.”

D'Amico said the Footprints program being launched by Wachovia is an excellent springboard to the third annual Greater Delaware Valley Walk F.A.R. for NAAR, which takes place Saturday, June 12 at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken, NJ.

The event, which is expected to attract more than 1,500 people, is the signature fundraising event of NAAR. In just two years, the Greater Delaware Valley Walk has raised more than $300,000 for autism research. For more information about the Walk or to register, call (856) 755-0330 or visit www.autismwalk.org.

Autism is a complex brain disorder that often inhibits a person's ability to communicate, respond to surroundings or form relationships with others. First identified more than 50 years ago, autism is typically diagnosed by the age of two or three. Autism is considered a spectrum disorder because symptoms and severity vary from individual to individual. Most people with autism spectrum disorders require lifelong supervision and care and the most severely affected will never be able to speak. Autism spectrum disorders affect people of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and occur in as many as one in every 166 births. Some studies place the prevalence even higher.

According to a recent poll conducted by NAAR, a majority of Americans believe that autism research should be awarded a much higher priority and want both the government and the private sector to increase research funding to develop better methods to diagnose and treat autism and to find a cure for the disorder.

About NAAREstablished in 1994, the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) is the first non-profit organization in the country dedicated to funding and accelerating biomedical research for autism spectrum disorders. The organization was established by parents of children with autism concerned about the limited amount of funding for autism research. To date, NAAR has committed $14.9 million in grants for biomedical research projects worldwide that seek to find the causes, prevention, effective treatments and, ultimately, cure for autism spectrum disorders. Walk F.A.R. for NAAR is the organization's signature fundraising and autism awareness event, which is held annually in numerous communities across the United States. Additionally, NAAR was instrumental in establishing the Autism Tissue Program, a parent-led brain tissue donation program for autism research.

About Wachovia

Wachovia Corporation (NYSE:WB) is one of the largest providers of financial services to retail, brokerage and corporate customers throughout the East Coast and the nation, with assets of $411 billion, market capitalization of $61.7 billion and stockholders' equity of $33.3 billion at March 31, 2004. Its four core businesses, the General Bank, Capital Management, Wealth Management, and the Corporate and Investment Bank, serve 12 million client relationships (including households and businesses), primarily in 11 East Coast states and Washington, D.C. Its full-service retail brokerage firm, Wachovia Securities, LLC, serves clients in 49 states. Global services are provided through 32 international offices. Online banking and brokerage products are also available through Wachovia.com.