Fear the Turtle Autism Speaks U 5K Race at the University of Maryland Will Raise Awareness and Funds for Autism Speaks on April 14th, 2012 in College Park, MD

Washington, DC, January 13, 2012 --(PR.com)-- Autism Speaks National Capital Area, the local chapter of North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, today announced that the 4th annual University of Maryland’s Fear the Turtle Autism Speaks U 5K fundraising and awareness event will take place on April 14, 2012 at The Comcast Center Parking Lot 9, in College Park, MD. All event proceeds will support Autism Speaks’ work, both locally and nationally, to increase awareness about the growing autism health crisis, fund innovative autism research and family services, and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families in College Park and beyond. One in every 110 children are now diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, including 1 in 70 boys, making it the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.

The Fear the Turtle Autism Speaks U 5K race and family fun day presented by the fraternities Sigma Phi Epsilon and Delta Sigma Phi and the sorority Sigma Kappa is an Autism Speaks U event, raising almost $75,000 since started in 2009 to support autism research, awareness and advocacy.

Fear the Turtle Autism Speaks U 5K is a unique fundraising event organized by students at the University of Maryland to offer a safe and fun day for families impacted by autism. The day includes a 5K race and family-friendly activities for all to enjoy. Check-in for the event begins promptly at 9AM outside the Comcast Center in Parking Lot 9. The race will begin at 10AM, and awards will be given to the top male and female finishers in the 5K race. Refreshments will be provided, as well.

“Thanks to the tremendous community support each year and our hard-working volunteers, the Fear the Turtle Autism Speaks U 5K has increased awareness and support throughout the community, bringing in nearly $75,000 to help support valuable scientific over the past three years,” said event Co-Chair Pascal Block. Co-Chair, Phil Hetzel added: “In addition to raising funds and awareness, the 5K run and family-fun activities bring families from all around the community together and enjoy a day of laughter and hope. Working together, we are making great strides toward improving the lives of people with autism and their families.”

In 2008, Autism Speaks launched Autism Speaks U, an initiative that engages college students in autism awareness, advocacy and fundraising efforts. Since its inception, Autism Speaks U events have raised over $1 million. There are more than 45 Autism Speaks U chapters on campuses nationwide.

For more information about the 4th Annual Fear the Turtle Autism Speaks U 5K race and family fun day presented by Sigma Phi Epsilon, Delta Sigma Phi, and Sigma Kappa, please visit: http://events.autismspeaks.org/u/umd or contact Christina at christina.markish@autismspeaks.org

About Autism
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 110 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 600 percent increase in the past two decades that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $160 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. 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. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks has created resources and programs including the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, Autism Speaks’ Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, which Autism Speaks celebrates through its Light it Up Blue initiative. Also, Autism Speaks award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign with the Ad Council has received over $300 million in donated media. Autism Speaks’ family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit, a Grandparent’s Guide to Autism, and a community grant program. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government’s response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments in 29 states thus far, with bills pending in an additional 10 states. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.

Autism Speaks National Capital Area
Christina Markish