This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro, a motivational speaker and best-selling author who’s on the autism spectrum. You can learn more about Kerry on Facebook and Twitter. This blog originally appeared here.
Kerry recently shared an open letter to Jimmy Fallon called "A Letter to Jimmy Fallon, Who's Inspired Me as an Adult with Autism" which he wrote for The Mighty in the hopes of connecting with him. You can watch Kerry read that open letter on his local cable show below...
I’ve always believed you can receive inspiration from anywhere. For me, my inspiration has come from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Between the lip-sync battles and celebrity appearances, it’s hard not see this show on your televisions and your social media feeds on a daily basis. I first took notice of Jimmy when I saw him in Taxi, the movie he starred with Queen Latifah in 2004 where he plays an NYC cop. With all the singing he did, I almost instantly realized similar traits we both shared. For one, we can sing really really high.
Once Jimmy took over for Jay Leno on NBC, I was hooked. He had a confidence about himself on the set that was something I was missing as a kid. His ability to have his show become a viral hit was also something that has inspired me. I wanted to make autism awareness and education a viral hit in our communities.
Then something amazing happened.
As a motivational speaker for the past five years, I have made a great deal of connections. One of them was a man who owned a media company group that was looking for another talk show host to round out their spring TV schedule. He approached me after hearing my background and asked if I’d like my own show!
A few weeks later I responded to him with a TV series concept that blew him away.
I can now say I host the ‘Different is Beautiful Show’ a cable TV show on Comcast in Jersey City, New Jersey where our motto is "normal is just a dryer setting." To date we’ve had guests like The Tonight Show that have included doctors, disability advocates, guardians, politicians and many more who are making a difference in their local communities.
Today I can say I’m one of the only cable talk show hosts in the country who has autism...
I wanted to take the opportunity with this blog to thank Mr. Fallon for his work. You’ve volunteered with Autism Speaks in the past for our events such as our ‘4 Miles of Hope’ event as part Team Up! With Autism Speaks in New York City and that makes you stand out as even more of a class act. As someone who has followed your work and who hopes to one day follow in your footsteps, I’m very grateful to you.
For those reading this, I hope you know that great things are possible in our community. We all have goals and we all want to progress to live out our dreams. We also need role models for us to look up to. For me, Mr. Fallon has given me that time and time again… Thank you for that.