NEW YORK - Autism Speaks, North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) today announced the launch of Face-off Against Autism, a unique digital fundraising initiative that will allow hockey fans to show their support for their favorite team and player throughout the playoffs while also supporting autism research and awareness efforts.
Face-off Against Autism will highlight a key NHL player from each of the 16 playoff teams, transforming his photo into a digital puzzle. Fans can purchase individual pieces for $10. Every fan who visits http://www.autismspeaks.org/nhl and buys at least one puzzle piece will receive a 20% discount off their next purchase at the NHL Store powered by Reebok and be automatically entered for a chance to win one of four jerseys autographed by NHL stars Alex Ovechkin, Martin Brodeur, Sidney Crosby or Henrik Lundqvist. Winners will be randomly selected at the end of the campaign.
"The NHL has some of the most passionate and dedicated fans in professional sports and we are thrilled and grateful to be teaming with the league and Players' Association on this exciting fundraising campaign," said Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks. "By showing their support for their team and its star player, fans will be helping us find important answers to the autism puzzle."
The Face-off Against Autism campaign, powered by Puzzlebuilder, is part of a continuing partnership between Autism Speaks and the NHL and NHLPA, which recently teamed up for the Face-Off for a Cure gala raising over $1.1 million dollars to support Autism Speaks and the Gillen Brewer School. All Face-off Against Autism donations will benefit Autism Speaks and go toward funding research into the causes, better diagnosis and more effective treatments for autism.
Autism is a complex neurobiological 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 110 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism increased 57 percent from 2002 to 2006. 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 North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $160 million to research and developing innovative new resources for families. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks has created resources and programs including the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, Autism Speaks' Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, which Autism Speaks celebrates through its Light it Up Blue initiative. Also, Autism Speaks award-winning "Learn the Signs" campaign with the Ad Council has received over $258 million in donated media. Autism Speaks' family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit and a community grant program. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government's response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments in 25 states thus far, with bills pending in an additional 12 states. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.
About the Co-Founders
Autism Speaks 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 Chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association. He served as Vice Chairman of General Electric; and as the Chief Executive Officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also serves on the boards of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, Mission Product, LLC and the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Suzanne Wright is a Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. Suzanne has received numerous awards, the Women of Distinction Award from Palm Beach Atlantic University, the CHILD Magazine Children's Champions Award, Luella Bennack Volunteer Award, Spirit of Achievement award by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's National Women's Division and The Women of Vision Award from the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2008, the Wrights were named to the Time 100 Heroes and Pioneers category, a list of the most influential people in the world, for their commitment to global autism advocacy. They have also received numerous awards such as the first ever Double Helix Award for Corporate Leadership, NYU Child Advocacy Award, Castle Connolly National Health Leadership Award and The American Ireland Fund Humanitarian Award. In May of 2010 they received Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degrees from St. John's University in Queens and delivered the commencement address as the first married couple to be bestowed such an honor.