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  • Posted on July 23, 2011 at 11:03 PM

I received an e-mail from Mary Pat Stephenson, who describes herself as “a preschool special needs teacher for 25 years, working with autistic children and their families.” Her sons founded, a website where you can upload photos and turn them into wrapped canvas prints. Together they are raising money for the Autism Society.

“We created a page on our site where customers who want to get a photo made into a canvas will get a 30% discount and the rest of the profits from every order will be donated to the Autism Society. The page is at RoyalCanvas-Supports-Autism.” You can also view their public profile for the fundraising drive on the Autism Society’s site.


Personally, when considering whether to support a fund-raising effort regarding autism, it’s very important to me that:

  1. Efforts to raise funds do NOT use scare tactics.
  2. Efforts to raise funds show respect for families AND individuals with autism.
  3. Funds raised are used primarily to help living autistics and are NOT used to target autistics-in-utero for abortion.

There are organizations I will not support. Autism Society is not, at this time, one of those. On the homepage of the Autism Society, one the first things I see is:

“I am a…

Family Member

Individual on the Spectrum



In the small print on the cited site, it states: “All sales proceeds from this coupon will be donated to the Autism Society. The Autism Society improves the lives of all affected by autism through education, advocacy, services, research and support.”

I could argue that “Individual on the Spectrum” should be first. I could argue that “support” should definitely come before “research.” Maybe in time I will. For now, I’m passing along the information as requested. The choice to participate is, as always, up to you.

Run for Autism

  • Posted on September 6, 2009 at 12:00 PM

I’ve seen many attempts to raise funds for autism research, most of which I’ve refused to participate in.  The only autism-related fund raising I’ve contributed to is the fund for our local respite program.  However, I’ve recently learned more about OAR (Organization for Autism Research) and I think it’s something I might be able to support.  I’m still not entirely swayed, but I’m open enough to the idea to post the following news from an e-mail sent by Michael V. Maloney, OAR’s Executive Director:

The RUN FOR AUTISM – Chicago is OAR’s largest fundraising event of the year.  This year, The Bank of America Chicago Marathon launched a fun and interactive opportunity that allows you to leave your “digital mark” on the Windy City in anticipation of the marathon on October 11th.

We invite you, your friends and family to log-on to and create a free personalized digital footprint, which includes a shoe tread, personal photo, quote, and your support for OAR. Just select “Run for Autism - Organization for Autism Research” from the charity dropdown menu and create your footprint. Be sure to save the jpeg image so you can share your footprint others, inviting them to log-on to create their own footprint and show their support OAR.

The first 50,000 people to create their footprint will earn $1 donation to charity of their choice, including OAR. You don’t have to be a RUN FOR AUTISM participant to make your mark on Chicago this fall; create your footprint today and spread the word.

Now, I’m not planning on joining the run for autism.  I’ve been to Chicago – twice.  I’ll go again, but spending $30 + (not including gas, food, or other expenses) to participate in an event just isn’t in our budget.  Especially when I’m not 100% on-board with the organization.  However, leaving a footprint sounded worthwhile.

It’s a little hokey, but it gives you the opportunity to choose from a variety of charities (including OAR, but not them exclusively) for a bank to donate money to, which seems like a good cause just about any way I look at it.  If you’re going to do this, you have to design your footprint by October 9th!