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Gala raises $525,000 to battle autism | Rose Dennis | In Good Company

Jo, Chanel and Bill Krueger - Courtesy photo
Jo, Chanel and Bill Krueger
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The “Colors of Autism” fundraising gala for the new Seattle Children’s Autism Center raised an impressive $525,000 on Oct. 8.

I learned that autism affects 1 in 110 girls and 1 in 70 boys. The cause is unknown and there is no cure.

Honorary chairs for this year’s event were Jo and Bill Krueger, who have a daughter with autism. They are using their own personal journey with autism by creating awareness and fundraising to find a cure. Bill, a former Mariners pitcher, had a professional baseball career for more than 13 years.

The Kruegers established the Pacific Northwest Chapter of Cure Autism Now, a coalition of athletes, community leaders, families and celebrities. It was the first in the nation to raise $1 million for the disability.

Their daughter, Chanel, recently graduated from Eastside Catholic High School and is attending the University of San Diego – a true success story.

Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills.

Dr. Bryan King, director of the new Seattle Children’s Autism Center, shared that this disease is an on-going everyday struggle for families, and that it needs to be diagnosed early on.

When the center opened three years ago, Seattle Children’s served 93 patients. Since September 2011, they have 1,300 patients with a goal of 17,000 in 2012 and becoming the #1 autism program in the nation. There are about 1,400 patients on the waiting list, and 677 patients are in need of an evaluation. These numbers are high because of the lack of funding.

Aurora R. Bearse, president and event co-chair of the Autism Guild and mother of an autistic daughter, the evening’s fundraising will help change these waiting list numbers.

My heart goes out to every child who has autism, and to the families who continue to fight the challenges of this life-long disease. www.seattlechildrens.org.

 

Rose Dennis writes about events in Bellevue and the Greater Seattle area. She lives in Bellevue.

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