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Alain Belda, Jerry Jones, Duncan Niederauer and Donald Perkins to be Honored at Kickoff for a Cure III Dinner Gala Benefiting Autism Speaks and the Gillen Brewer School

The NFL Helps Celebrate a Special Evening to Raise Funds for Children with Autism and Other Special Needs

NEW YORK, NY (January 17, 2008) -- Autism Speaks and The Gillen Brewer School will once again team up for the Kickoff for a Cure III dinner gala on Wednesday, March 12 at the Waldorf=Astoria hotel in Manhattan. A group of NFL greats, past and present, will be on hand to salute the evening's honorees: Alcoa CEO Alain Belda; Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones; New York Stock Exchange Euronext CEO Duncan Niederauer; and former Jewel Companies, Inc., Chairman Donald S. Perkins.

The evening will feature a silent auction of sports memorabilia and other unique items. Last year's event raised more than $2 million to benefit children with autism and other special needs.

Past Kickoff for a Cure benefits have featured appearances by Michael Strahan, Howie Long, Jerome Bettis, Marcus Allen, Donovan McNabb, Boomer Esiason, Frank Gifford and many other current NFL stars and Hall of Famers.

Joining Autism Speaks Co-founders Suzanne and Bob Wright as honorary co-chairs are NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin, Gillen Brewer School Chairman Henry Schacht and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity to honor Alain, Jerry, Duncan and Donald for their remarkable philanthropic work,” said Bob Wright. “We are, as always, thrilled to be working with our friends at The Gillen Brewer School and supporting their mission to help children with disabilities reach their full potential.”

For ticket information, contact Liz Sabia at (914) 935-1462 or

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.

Gillen Brewer has responded to the overwhelming need for a school in New York City where children with challenging disabilities and their families are welcomed, educated and supported. A cornerstone of the school's philosophy is that a knowledgeable and informed family is essential for each child to reach his or her full potential. As a state and federally funded institution, the school must rely on outside financial support to ensure that it can continue the vital role it plays in the lives of its students and their families. Gillen Brewer prides itself on its mission to provide services for a diverse group of children from all socioeconomic backgrounds and believes that given an intimate and nurturing setting and a talented team of committed specialists, all children can learn.

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 Vice Chairman, General Electric, and served as chief executive officer of NBC for more than twenty years. 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 /.