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Calls to Action

Dearest Friends:

Though the word friends hardly does justice to how we feel about you. You have been our brothers and sisters, our comrades in battle, our shoulders to cry on, the arms that lift us up. When we look in each other's eyes we see the same thing--that crazy mix
September 10, 2007

We are writing today to tell you about a big decision that we are making at Cure Autism Now; we pray that it will be the right one and we hope that you will join us.

We have decided that we can best serve the people we love with autism by joining forces with Autism Speaks and becoming one much, much stronger organization. The urgency with which we approach our mission will be the same, the optimism and creativity and compassion will be the same. But we are betting that our ability to get the message out, reach more people and fund more research will be greater. And it needs to be.

Because even though things are better than they were 10 years ago, more people are getting diagnosed than ever before. The numbers are going up not down, there is more sadness not less and there is more that we must get done.

We are bringing our innovative science programs, including AGRE, ATN, Clinical Trials Network and Innovative Technology for Autism. We are creating a new well-funded program that will pursue high risk, high reward research. And we will be adding more money and more reach and the ability to truly spread the message all over the country. We will be joining up with thousands and thousands of other families who are as passionate as we are. And if we were loud before, we will be louder.

We are writing to say that as we join Autism Speaks, we pledge to stay true to everything Cure Autism Now is and to bring that into the new organization. And so we ask you to come with us. We ask you to get more committed, show your passion with even more power and dedication. We will be getting bigger and stronger and tougher and more insistent. As we grow, we will get even faster not slower, our hearts will grow bigger, we will listen to you harder. Whether our kids are 3 or 30, can't say a word or can't stop talking about the baseball schedule, we want better lives for them. And whether we are called Cure Autism Now, Autism Speaks, or that perennial favorite in our house, Autism Sucks, our commitment to a better life for those with autism does not change.

Is there a downside? Well we suppose all those T-shirts and coffee cups become memorabilia, but that is a small price to pay. And at CAN we have always been about building the future, not dwelling on the past. Still now might be a good time to look, for a moment, at what you have done as part of CAN. You have created a field of scientific research where there was nothing. You have written and passed the only important legislation for autism and are about to make history by doing it again with the Combating Autism Act. By creating AGRE, you have changed the way science is done and created the gold standard of collaboration. You have made autism part of the national vocabulary. You have given a voice to people who have no voice. You have insisted that this generation is worth saving.

We are so proud of everything we have accomplished so far and we believe that together, as we become the loudest, largest, most mobilized and powerful force our community has ever seen, we can do twice as much in the future.

Join us. Help us in the next part of the journey. Help us as we help Autism Speaks speak passionately, truthfully and urgently for all of us and our children, now.

Portia Iversen and Jon Shestack
Parents of Dov Shestack, age 14