What an amazing night!! Last night, Autism Speaks held it’s inaugural Blue Tie-Blue Jean Ball at the House of Blues in Hollywood. By any estimate, it was a huge success! The energy among the sold-out crowd was energetic, happy and celebratory. It was a night for recognizing all that goes into raising a child with autism and rejoicing in the success that is possible, at any age. Gina Kilberg, senior veep of international media at Sony Pictures, who was the driving force behind the night’s event, took the opportunity to recognize what she referes to as “Team Lukey,” the many individuals that work for her son, among them therapists, teachers, advocates. She played a video on the jumbo screen that I have to admit left us all a little teary eyed. I was so happy to get to see Gina again. As busy autism-moms, we rarely get the chance to catch up with each other. Gina said she wanted to point out how many people it takes to get a child with autism through his or her school years. It takes an entire “team.”
The Blue Tie-Blue-Jean Ball was filled with celebrities, among them, Sinbad, Toni Braxton, a beautiful performance by Brooke White, Holly Robinson Peete, Paul Marciano, Ed Asner, and the cast of the tv hit, Parenthood, which portrays a family living with autism. So many of these celebrities are touched personally by autism. As the jumbo-screen in the House of Blues quoted throughout the night, “If you don’t yet know someone with autism… you will.” Autism Speaks is the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization. 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. Autism affects 1 in 110 children, and 1 in 70 boys. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes or pediatric AIDS combined. ASD affects an estimated 3 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide. Autism Speaks and the many celebrities involved are doing what they can to spread awareness and raise support. Sinbad was a rousing emcee for the live auction. Cheers to all of you who won those awesome items! Rob Shanahan, the talented music photographer, was a huge part of the event. His photographs
covered the walls of the upstairs balcony as guests snapped up copies of his newly released book, “Volume 1.” The topper to the evening was a breathtaking performance by Sarah McLachlan. As she sang “In the Arms of an Angel,” I can tell you I was genuinely moved. I couldn’t help but look around the room and think of all of our kiddos with autism in the arms of the angels who help us help them.
Congratulations to Autism Speaks, Guess? for presenting the event, everyone who put this fun-filled evening together, and to Gina Kilberg for her success and her inspiration to us as an autism-mom! I cannot wait for the next one!