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Autism Speaks National Capital Area

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Ernie Els' Wife Lisa to Run in July 4th Autism Speaks Potomac 5K


Autism Speaks National Capital Area, the DC chapter of the nation’s largest autism advocacy organization, today announced that Liezl Els, wife of PGA golfer Ernie Els, will run in this year’s Ninth Annual Autism Speaks July 4th Potomac 5K. All event proceeds will benefit Autism Speaks. What: Ninth Annual Autism Speaks July 4th Potomac 5K. When: Saturday July 4, 2009. Where: Potomac, MD. 8:05 am Race start.

Washington, DC, June 17, 2009 --(PR.com)-- Autism Speaks National Capital Area, the DC chapter of the nation’s largest autism advocacy organization, today announced that Liezl Els, wife of PGA golfer Ernie Els, will run in this year’s Ninth Annual Autism Speaks July 4th Potomac 5K. Mrs. Els will be running on behalf of their son, Ben, who has autism. All event proceeds will benefit Autism Speaks.

In a recent interview in the New York Times, Els said: “A lot of young parents like myself and Liezl are going to be affected by [autism]. It’s happening every day as we stand here, families are being affected by it. It’s a shock at first, you’re not quite sure what to do, where to go. We started talking out about it, and it’s basically just to tell other families not to hold it back.”

“We are particularly honored to have the Els family with us this year. We are excited to build on the success of last year’s July 4th 5K and expand the ranks of both runners and donors,” said Susan Pereles, Autism Speaks’ event director. “Now in its ninth year, the Potomac 5K is a labor of love for our race committee and has become an institution in the DC community. There is something special in running for our cause on Independence Day, as we strive to raise money to improve the lives of the more than one million Americans living with this chronic disorder.”

Last year’s Potomac 5K had over 2,000 participants and raised $250,000. The event has both a 5K race and a 1 mile fun walk. Individuals, families, and businesses are encouraged to register online at www.potomac5K.org and start their July 4th holiday with a bang.

About Autism

Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. Wright also serves on the board of directors of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, RAND Corporation and Mission Product, LLC. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.

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What: Ninth Annual Autism Speaks July 4th Potomac 5K
When: Saturday July 4, 2009
7:30 a.m. Pre-race warm-up (with professional trainer Fred Foster)
8:00 a.m. 5K road race
8:05 a.m. 1 mile walk
Where: Potomac Library at the intersection of River and Falls Roads in Potomac, Maryland. Exit 39 off of 495 at River Road and head towards Potomac
Parking: Is available in surrounding neighborhoods (alternative parking at Potomac Elementary School at 10311 River Road)
Post-Race Festivities: After the race, enjoy food and music. Random prizes will be awarded. Help hem start the 4th of July with a morning celebration.

Questions: Susan Pereles Autism Speaks National Capital Area
spereles@autismspeaks.org ; 202.955.3111
Contact Information
Autism Speaks National Capital Area
Shawnie Keenan
202 955 3111
Contact
www.potomac5K.org

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