"Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first three years of life and affects the brain's normal development of social and communication skills"
Although Ernie Els speaks out for Autism in the golf community, the world of sports will be joining forces to officially kick-off Autism Awareness Month. To shed light on the fight against autism, sports landmarks across the country will illuminate in blue April 1st and 2nd as part of Autism Speaks’ Light It Up Blue campaign (LIUB).
Light It Up Blue, now in its second year, has garnered the support of over three-hundred iconic buildings and landmarks across the globe. These structures will illuminate in bright blue to shine a spotlight on the growing autism health crisis, which now affects one in one-hundred and ten children, and one in seventy boys.
A few of this year’s confirmed LIUB participants include:
Mercedes-Benz Arena - Shanghai, China
Amway Center (Orlando Magic) – Orlando, FL
Meadowlands/Giant Stadium – East Rutherford, NJ
Mets Citi Field – Flushing Meadows, NY
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
PNC Ball Park – Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh Penguins and CONSOL Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA
Bradley Center (Milwaukee Bucks) – Milwaukee, WI
Qwest Field (Seattle Seahawks) – Seattle, WA
Additionally, the NBA will show its support of the Light It Up Blue campaign, as broadcast teams will sport Autism Speaks pins at all nineteen nationally and locally televised games on April 1st and 2nd. The NBA has created PSAs with NBA superstars like Dwight Howard, Chauncey Billups and Deron Williams to be broadcast during those three games as well.
Other celebrity events raising money to find causes and a cure for Autism include an auction that last year secured almost $10,000 to fight the neural disorder. This year, Yoko Ono's signed Lindt gold bunny seems to be all the rage.
The Els for Autism Golf Challenge takes over right after Autism Awareness Month officially concludes with a national amateur golf competition that combines challenges on well-known courses like Doral with its fundraising efforts. The first event in the Challenge begins on May 1st in Florida and concludes in October in Las Vegas.