NEW YORK, NY (January 8, 2009) – New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller, who electrified fans during his impressive rookie season, today announced that he is donating $4,800 to Autism Speaks -- $100 for every Jets touchdown during the 2008 season – in support of autism research. Several companies will match Keller's contribution.
Keller plans to attend a New York/New Jersey-area Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism event during the 2009 walk season. "I am very impressed with the work Autism Speaks is doing on behalf of children with autism,” said Keller. “I am excited about supporting Autism Speaks and its continued efforts."
“Dustin has demonstrated remarkable skill on the field and tremendous generosity and compassion off of it,” said Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks. “We are very grateful that he has chosen to support our efforts to fund important autism research, and we look forward to his continued involvement with Autism Speaks.”
Keller's interest in the issue of autism arises from his mother, Maureen's, work in the social services sector. She has worked with several clients who have autism, and her good works have inspired her sons to become involved with various causes involving people with developmental disabilities.
The accounting firm of Amper, Politziner & Mattia was instrumental in connecting Keller and Autism Speaks.
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by 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 prevalence 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.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. Autism Speaks merged with the Autism Coalition for Research and Education (ACRE), the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation's leading autism advocacy organizations. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org