Skip navigation

Calls to Action

Autism Speaks Announces the 2007 Autism Awareness 5K Fun Run on Al Asad Air Base, Iraq

Support men and women of the Marines, Navy and Army who will run to raise funds and awareness for autism

NEW YORK, NY (April 20, 2007) -- Autism Speaks, the largest non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism and raising money to fund autism research, today announced its support of a 5K run in Iraq to raise awareness and funds for autism. As part of April's Autism Awareness Month the Air Force men and women of the 438TH Air Expeditionary Group (AEG) Top 5 Organization, currently deployed in the western deserts of the Anbar Province in Iraq, are holding the 2007 Autism Awareness 5K Fun Run on Al Asad Air Base, Iraq. Along with the men and women of the Marines, Navy and Army on Sunday April 29th they will briefly pause from their duties to participate in this event in hopes of bringing additional awareness and support to the world of autism. (Click here to see photos from the event).

The run was the innovative idea of MSgt. Fred Proctor III, USAF, who with his family, has participated in past Walks for Autism Research in Atlanta, Georgia. His son is on the autism spectrum and the inspiration for this event. “One day when he is able to understand I want him to know that wherever I am and no matter what I am doing that he is always on my mind,” said MSgt. Proctor.

Donations to the run can be made through the Autism Speaks website at

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 166 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.

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 and CEO 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