This week we mark our tenth year, an incredible milestone in our work for our grandson Christian and the 70 million boys, girls, men and women like him and your loved ones. And, we are incredibly proud of the progress we have made.
We have raised autism awareness 50% among parents of young children. We have developed walks in more than 100 areas and assisted caregivers via phone and email 43,000 times in 2014 alone.
We have built global partnerships in 60 nations. We fought for one of only seven UN sanctioned “world days,” and every April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day, on every continent, we light the world blue in honor of our loved ones. Last year, 10,000 beautiful blue lights on buildings on all seven continents around the world illuminated the sky. We’ve also been on the International Space Station for the last three years.
Friends, we begin our next chapter with remarkable recent accomplishments including:
- MSSNG - revolutionary new genetic research we have begun with Google;
- The signing of the ABLE Act, which established tax free savings accounts for the 58 million families with disabilities;
- A worldwide outreach to the faithful following the first ever Vatican conference on autism where we gave remarks, then met and were inspired by Pope Francis;
- The tireless nonstop work of the Autism Response team which has fulfilled 138,129 calls and emails since 2007; and
- The passage of the Autism Cares (and formerly the Combating Autism Act) which by 2019 will have allocated 3 billion federal research dollars to autism over two administrations. A true bipartisan effort.
Now we must focus on improving services for every family in every corner of the world. No exceptions. We need to connect our countless volunteers to each other, to all autism self advocates who are able to work on their own and to every autism family. They are our soldiers. Brave moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. As Gandhi once said: “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."
We have that faith and we are altering history. And so we ask you to join us. Rejoice at our progress. Be inspired by our brave, beautiful loved ones with autism. Let them be your incentive to enlist as our newest autism soldier.
Suzanne and Bob Wright