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August 1, 2016

Suzanne Wright, Autism Speaks Co-Founder, Remembered

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:36 pm

Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, has died after fighting a courageous nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Wright, 69, died July 29 at her home in Fairfield, CT and was surrounded by her family at the time of her death.

Suzanne Wright and her husband, Bob, co-founded Autism Speaks in 2005 after their grandson, Christian, was diagnosed with autism.

Brian Kelly, Autism Speaks chairman of the board of directors, and Angela Geiger, president and CEO, honored Suzanne’s enduring legacy in a joint statement:

“What Suzanne Wright has done to raise awareness of autism is immeasurable. Even during the past few difficult months, her determination never wavered. For more than a decade, she has been a tireless advocate on the national and international stage: at the United Nations, on Capitol Hill, at Autism Speaks Walks nationwide, and in personal letters of support to individuals and families affected by autism. Suzanne sparked a global conversation with one question: How can we help people with autism live their best possible lives? Persuading the world to see the potential in each child and adult on the vast autism spectrum is her greatest legacy. As we look to the future, Autism Speaks remains committed to advancing the important mission she began.”

In 2005, Suzanne and her husband, Bob Wright, co-founded Autism Speaks after their grandson, Christian, was diagnosed with autism.

At the helm of Autism Speaks, Suzanne helped create the iconic blue puzzle-piece logo that is now recognized around the world to represent autism. Working with the Ad Council and BBDO Worldwide, Suzanne and Bob Wright launched a 10-year public service announcement campaign that is credited with educating countless families about the early signs of autism.

Suzanne also led Autism Speaks’ signature global awareness initiatives. Her indefatigable determination was key to persuading the United Nations to establish April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day, establishing the annual World Focus on Autism, and launching the international Light It Up Blue campaign, which this year lit landmarks, buildings and homes in 157 countries.

As part of the United Nations’ World Autism Awareness Day, Suzanne addressed the United Nations’ General Assembly every year for eight consecutive years. In addition, in conjunction with this event, she organized and hosted the annual World Focus on Autism, an unprecedented gathering of first ladies and dignitaries from around the world, devoted to planning and coordinating efforts to raise autism awareness.

In November 2014, Suzanne spoke at the Vatican’s first-ever conference on autism, where she called for all nations and faiths to “walk next to the 70 million children, teens and adults with autism around the world every day.”

Read the complete article and view a video on Suzanne Wright’s life and legacy.


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