Pump It Up Celebrates 2 Millionth Party with Nationwide Charity Event, $100,000 Fundraising Goal
TEMPE, Ariz., July 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Pump It Up always makes a big deal of parties, but on July 25, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the national children’s entertainment franchise will host a celebration of epic proportion at each of its 150 locations. In partnership with Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, Pump It Up is inviting families nationwide to jump free of charge at its fourth annual Great Open Jump. Through donations, Pump It Up has set a goal to raise $100,000 for Autism Speaks.
This year’s Great Open Jump has special meaning for Tempe-based Pump It Up as the system-wide celebration will coincide with the company’s 2 millionth birthday party hosted. Families can help Pump It Up celebrate its milestone and reach their fundraising for Autism Speaks by making donations at their nearest Pump It Up location.
“From coast to coast, our franchise partners have long been passionate about helping kids and families living with autism, and they’re eager to continue these efforts at this year’s Great Open Jump,” said Lee Knowlton, CEO of Pump It Up. “When we learned that our 2 millionth party was fast approaching, we couldn’t think of a better way to combine these two events.”
Pump It Up began its support of autism in 2007 after many locations across the country began to notice a trend of families seeking out the sensory environment as a unique place for their children on the autism spectrum to play. Over the years, more and more locations began to host events exclusively for children with autism, now known asSensory Jump Time and in 2011 Pump It Up raised more than $30,000 for Autism Speaks.
“We applaud Pump It Up’s commitment to raising awareness and funds for our science and advocacy initiatives,” said Scott Leibowitz, Autism Speaks director of marketing and corporate relationship management. “We are honored that Pump It Up is celebrating its 2 millionth birthday party by helping to benefit children with autism, and we’re ecstatic to be a part of it.”
For more information to find out how you can participate in the fourth annual Great Open Jump visitwww.PumpItUpParty.com.
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 1000 percent increase in the past 40 years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.
About Pump It Up
A clear, national leader in the children’s entertainment category, Pump It Up is a 150-unit franchise specializing in private birthday parties and programs like field trips, camps, open jump time and other seasonal special events. Known by most parents as their “kids’ favorite place,” Pump It Up prides itself on offering a trained, safety-oriented staff committed to serving families in a stress-free environment. For more information about Tempe, AZ– based, Pump It Up, please visit www.PumpItUpParty.com.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It 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. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed over $180 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 95 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.
Media Contact: Michelle Ferm, Fishman Public Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org,
- Autism Speaks Fundraiser At Joe’s Crab Shack (fox2now.com)
PopCap Games is excited to have an opportunity to partner with Autism Speaks and help drive autism awareness. From June 29 to July 1, we’re donating proceeds from sales of Idols in our game Zuma Blitz (available on Facebook) to Autism Speaks.
We met a few members of the Autism Speaks team at an event sponsored by Facebook last year and were really impressed with the organization and the way in which it was using social media to increase awareness and advocacy for its cause. At PopCap, we really appreciate opportunities to support people and organizations in our communities and – since many of our players and our team members have young families – Autism Speaks seemed like a great partner and an important cause to help bring attention to.
We hope that everyone involved has fun with Idols for Autism in the same way that we’ve tried to combine fun with community support in the past. One great example that we hope you’ll check out is our game Allied Star Police which we built in partnership with a very inspiring guest producer, Owain Weinert.
On a more personal level, the entire Zuma Blitz team has really gotten behind this partnership. For the first time ever, we’ve built a new, special game board incorporating the Autism Speaks logo. This is something we didn’t even ask the game designers to do – they just built it. Todd, the head of the Zuma Blitz development team, writes:
“I am personally very happy to partner with Autism Speaks. I had the privilege of serving the autistic community for over 3 years. I wish this organization existed back then. I know from personal experience the huge difference that advocacy and community support can have for individuals with autism and their families. Raising social awareness about the effects of autism and teaching local communities to have empathy for the hardships that this disorder causes on the families and individuals with autism are required for an autistic individual to successfully integrate into their community.”
Thanks again to Autism Speaks for helping us put together this partnership. We’ll do our best to support you and the autism community.
Meanwhile, we hope you’ll play Zuma Blitz this weekend and have some fun while supporting Autism Speaks.
Designer appears in PSA for the philanthropy Autism Speaks
Public service advertisement (PSA) for Autism Speaks, featuring renowned fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger.
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Hilfiger said that one of the reasons he chose to appear in a public service announcement for the philanthropy Autism Speaks was to honor his16 year-old daughter, Kathleen.
He said that she when was five years old, she was given the diagnosis of being “developmentally delayed.”
Despite seeing doctors at Harvard and Yale, he couldn’t get a grasp on what the trouble was.
Finally they discovered she was “on the spectrum of autism” — but it still left more questions than answers.
He’s proud of his “really smart” daughter who now attends a special school.
“She’ll come and wake me up in the middle of the night and ask, ‘Am I intelligent?’ or ‘Someone in school told me I was a retard, is that true?’ It’s just heart-wrenching.”
While he’s happy his daughter is getting the care and help she needs, he wishes that more people cared about autism.
“The government is not involved in it. People aren’t donating enough money. There’s not enough research,” he said. “There’s no cure. It needs help, so we’ve become involved.”
He said that having a stepchild with similar problems has proved to be a comfort for his daughter.
“Dee has a son my daughter’s age who had the same issue,” he said. “That really brought us together.”
Children with autism: Nothing for granted
(CNN) — Watching a child take his first steps is one of the biggest milestones for a parent.
Lindsay Williamson says the moment she heard her son, Reed, call his father “Daddy” instead of “juice box” was just as amazing.
He was a month shy of his third birthday, and the family had spent months in autism evaluations that Reed wouldn’t participate in.
“We were not sure we would ever hear ‘Daddy,'” said Williamson, whose family lives in Lewes, Delaware. “It meant so much to us.”
On World Autism Awareness Day, CNN iReport asked families affected by the developmental disorder to tell the world what their lives are like. Parents of children along the autism spectrum described incredible highs and lows: Desperation for answers about why autism rates are rising, fears about their children’s prospects in adulthood, but also great pride in watching them develop and overcome obstacles.
‘Never give up’
Early diagnosis and better access to treatments have helped families reach goals they weren’t sure were possible.
Lindsay Mansfield’s son, Travis, made little to no eye contact when he was diagnosed with autism in the first grade. Loud sounds frightened him. He would clap his hands and rock or jump up and down in crowded places.
It was draining for the family until they learned how his brain worked.
“We all began to learn the skills. It wasn’t just about him; it was also about us, the people who interacted with him,” Mansfield, of Queen Creek, Arizona, wrote in her iReport. “We all began to learn how to communicate through these situations. If something is loud, cover your ears. Too many people? Maybe there’s another way we can get through this store.”
To get through stressful homework sessions, she used blocks for addition and subtraction “so he could touch every one.”
Today, Travis is thriving in fourth grade. Mansfield said he has friends and sits at the dinner table and talks with his family.
“Never give up,” she said.
Waiting for ‘Mama’
Parents of children with autism say they learn to measure milestones differently. They appreciate the successes, however late they come.
Mothers of children with autism can wait years to hear their child say the words, “I love you, Mommy” — or even call them “Mommy,” said Lin Wessels, whose son, Sam, is 10.
“I remember distinctly the first time Sam said ‘Mama’ and he was actually meaning me. I started bawling,” she said.
Sam was about 3 years old at the time and had stopped speaking. He was learning to express himself using sign language and cards with pictures on them.
“That all helped Sam to realize that words have use — that by using them, something happens. It was just kind of a progression that ‘Oh, that’s Mom, and I can call her Mama and she will come.'”
Wessels, who lives in Rock Rapids, Iowa, felt another wave of pride last year when she saw Sam swinging in the backyard all by himself. Other children are able to learn how to swing just by watching others. Sam, who struggles with coordination, required years of therapy to be able to pump his legs while pushing and pulling the ropes, all while balancing his body on the seat.
“He was 9, and I started crying, because you don’t know if you’ll ever see your child do those things — things other children do when they’re 4,” she said. “Those kinds of things give you a lot of hope that there’s more to come.”
Milestones missed, dreams revised
Still, as hard as families try, some rites of passage are missed. Wessels says Sam still doesn’t have the coordination to ride a bicycle or play other sports, aside from Special Olympics once a year.
“It is not for lack of trying. We have tried the entire gamut of sports activities, but Sam just does not have the executive functioning skills, coordination or motor planning they require,” she said.
Crystal McCoy of Conway, Arkansas, said she had to accept the truth that her daughter “just doesn’t think like us.” Seven-year-old A’jaylin started hurting herself last year — picking scabs, then knocking her own teeth out — and was briefly placed in a mental hospital.
“We thought that if we did the right things she would be able to live a normal life,” McCoy wrote. “I used to dream of all the things she would be. Now my every hope or thought goes to whether she will hurt herself too bad, or if she will even live to that point and if she does if it will be in a hospital.”
Similarly, Luke Ferguson of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, said it was painful to revise the dreams he had for his little boy. His son, Sammy, is 6 and suffers from severe autism. He doesn’t speak, and still wears diapers.
“When he was one, I wanted to teach him how to play soccer and chess,” Ferguson said. “By the time he was three, I just wanted to be able to understand him when he is sad. The turning point … was for me to understand that my role is not to fix him but to love him.”
Even as she celebrates her son’s milestones — like calling his father “Daddy” — Lindsay Williamson often worries what will happen when Reed reaches adulthood. He is only 4, but group homes and other services for adults with autism are frequent topics of discussion in the parents group Williamson belongs to.
“Who will care for our kids when we are gone is a huge concern,” she said. “Who will be there to help them? Where will they live? What will they do?”
An estimated 500,000 children with autism will become adults in the next decade, and parents “have every right to be concerned,” said Peter Bell, executive vice president at Autism Speaks and father of a 19-year-old with autism.
Even adults with mild forms of autism face high unemployment rates because of social, communication and behavior problems, advocates say. A small study published in 2010, tracking 66 young adults after high school, found only 18 percent of them had jobs, and none were full-time. In some states, families have been waiting years for spots in group homes, vocational programs and other services.
“We know a lot more about autism today than we did 10 years ago, we continue to do much more research, and I think where we fail is in really providing appropriate services lifelong for individuals,” said Jim Ball, chairman of the Autism Society national board of directors.
The early diagnosis and therapies more prevalent than a couple decades ago appear to be improving that prognosis, but it’s not clear what percentage of the population will be able to live on their own, need 24-hour care or something in between.
Lin Wessels hopes that her son, Sam, will one day live on his own, find a meaningful career, maybe get married. She will never sell him short. She says she and her husband will continue to work with Sam as long as they live, advocate for more autism research and resources, and they give thanks to the parents who raised children with autism before her.
“The parents that went before us 20 and 30 years ago … a lot of times they were told, ‘Don’t have expectations, just plan on finding a permanent placement for your child.’ Now that kind of thinking is very backwards,” Wessels said. “Hopefully we’re blazing that trail even wider and bigger for the parents that follow, so there’s even more for their kids.
- Inspiring stories speaking for autism (nadiariell.com)
Autism Speaks, Online and Tech Leaders Team Up with Innovative Autism Awareness Month Initiatives
NEW YORK, NY – Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, today announced a series of digital, mobile and technology initiatives involving a range of corporate and philanthropic partners that will take place throughout Autism Awareness Month in April as part of its global Light It Up Blue awareness campaign.
Autism Speaks is also leveraging its online community of more than 3 million Facebook fans, Twitter followers and e-mail subscribers to create a groundswell of activity on its flagship Light It Up Blue website, www.lightitupblue.org. The website features an interactive photo gallery, personal fundraising pages and mobile applications for both the iOS and Android platforms.
An Autism Speaks text messaging service will support the online Light It Up Blue campaign. By texting “LIUB” to 30644, users can get access to additional content, information and news. Autism Speaks has also launched a video blog, hosted by a young man on the autism spectrum, Kerry Magro. The Kerry’s Korner video blog features music by Kyle Cousins, a musician who is also on the autism spectrum.
“We are excited to announce the online component of our Light It Up Blue campaign and grateful to all of our tech and digital partners for participating throughout Autism Awareness Month,” said Marc Sirkin, vice president of social marketing and online fundraising, Autism Speaks. “Thanks to their support, our online presence will continue to grow and reach new audiences with our message of compassion and the importance of early screening for autism.”
In addition to participating in the Light It Up Blue campaign, several of Autism Speaks’ online and technology partnerships feature new resources and tools for families affected by autism. “The tech community has demonstrated a genuine commitment to addressing this growing health crisis through the development of innovative software and applications for families and individuals affected by autism,” added Sirkin. Online and technology partners include:
- Microsoft has released a series of free office templates based on the Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit for families of individuals with autism. These templates can be found on the Autism Speaks partner page on Office.com. Templates include a contact form, request for information on Special Education Letter, a phone log and several other forms.
- Twitter has donated an online advertising campaign to encourage the world to Tweet about Light It Up Blue via the hashtag #LIUB.
- Google is participating in Light It Up Blue by lighting six of its buildings blue — including buildings in Seoul, Los Angeles and San Francisco — on April 2 to bring awareness to autism.
- AOL is highlighting both the organization and World Autism Awareness Day by featuring Autism Speaks on AOL.com April 2nd, providing a free placement on the AOL Mail Log-in screen for a day, and spotlighting Autism Speaks on the AOL Impact site, encouraging consumers to Light It Up Blue in support of Autism Awareness.
- Barnes & Noble will Light It Up Blue online by creating a special landing page at www.bn.com/autism and will provide an opportunity for its customers to join the campaign. The BN.com landing page will feature curated items that relate to autism.
- Technology provider Blackbaud will light the fountain outside its corporate headquarters blue and will focus on autism awareness among its employees throughout the month.
- Outfit7, creator of the popular Talking Friends characters and apps, will be participating in the campaign by providing free in-app Light It Up Blue virtual t-shirts for Talking Tom on both iOS and Android. Outfit7 will also donate advertising on its digital network.
- CareZone, a completely private place to organize and care for loved ones, is donating FREE accounts ($180 value) to those challenged with autism. Parents can claim their accounts at carezone.com/autism, and share access to them on any device.
- Careverge, an Audax Health digital health platform which inspires and engages consumers to be healthy with personalized tools and community, will light its homepage blue on April 2. Careverge invites members and caregivers to learn more about autism, and share support in its online autism community.
- HandHold Adaptive, which makes iPrompts and AutismTrack, premier apps for autism on mobile devices, will offer its AutismTrack app for free on April 2. AutismTrack is a powerful, handheld data collection app that helps parents track medicines, diets, therapies and behaviors, and report on progress to doctors.
- Lamar Digital Advertising has donated all available digital billboard space to Autism Speaks for three months, including April, to help increase participation in Light It Up Blue and the organization’s Autism Awareness Month initiatives. Digital billboards supporting Autism Speaks initiatives began running nationwide in mid-March and will continue through May 31, 2011.
- The Social Express™ is an engaging, interactive software application designed for children with autism, Asperger’s, and ADHD. Its software teaches children how to think about and manage social situations through video modeling, thus enabling them to build social-emotional skills and develop the meaningful relationships they need to navigate life. The Social Express will offer a special 75% discount on April 2.
- In collaboration with production company Bodega Studios, advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners will be releasing a documentary, I Want to Say, that chronicles the lives of real young people with autism, in particular, their challenges and breakthroughs through the use of touch technology. The film brings awareness to the vast improvements that touch technology has made for nonverbal members of the autism community. Hacking Autism, an initiative recently adopted by Autism Speaks, aims to bring this same attention to an online community devoted to people sharing their stories of hope through emerging technologies.
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 110 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 600 percent increase in the past two decades that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It 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. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed over $173 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 95 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org