Winston-Salem Will "Light It Up Blue" For Autism Awareness
April is National Autism Awareness Month and Wednesday, April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. Several Winston-Salem landmarks will be illuminated with blue light to draw attention to this condition that affects millions of children and adults nationwide.
“Right now is such a relevant time for us to shine our light on autism. Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control released new autism prevalence numbers that revealed one in 68 American children and one in 42 boys are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, which reflects a 33 percent increase over 2012,” says Casey Raymer, director of development for ABC of North Carolina Child Development Center in Winston-Salem.
This is the first year that ABC of North Carolina is partnering with corporate and civic partners for the “Light It Up Blue” Campaign in Winston-Salem. The organization provides individualized diagnostic, therapeutic, and educational services for children with various degrees of autism and their families. The center serves eleven counties, including Forsyth, Guilford, Davie and Davidson.
Participating landmarks and buildings in the city include Krispy Kreme headquarters on Knollwood Street, The R.J. Reynolds building, The Millennium Center, City Hall and Corpening Plaza.
They will be among more than 8,400 buildings and landmarks in 1,300 cities around the world that are participating in this global campaign to raise awareness of autism, including the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia, according to the autism advocacy group Autism Speaks.
Raymer says support from the Winston-Salem business community helps to broaden their outreach.
“We are just so excited that these landmarks will be illuminated in blue to show support not only for World Autism Awareness Day and for Autism Awareness Month but for the work that organizations like ABC of NC are doing. Krispy Kreme’s headquarters will remain lit throughout the month of April, so everyone should gaze towards the sky because Winston-Salem is going blue,” Raymer says.
Meanwhile, organizers hope the general public will also participate in the autism awareness campaign. They are encouraging people to replace their porch or flood lights with blue bulbs. Raymer says next year she hopes more Triad communities will participate in the “Light It Up Blue” event.