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Master of Ceremonies, Tom Brokaw. Photo by: Marion Curtis


 Master of Ceremonies, Tom Brokaw. Photo by: Marion Curtis


Concert for Autism Speaks
Bill Cosby & Toni Braxton
Raises More than $1.4 Million for Autism Research


New York City - The Concert for Autism Speaks, a star-filled evening of comedy and music headlined by legendary entertainer Bill Cosby and six-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Toni Braxton raised more than $1.4 million for Autism Speaks, the nation’s leading advocacy organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism and
raising money to fund autism research. Proceeds from the Concert for Autism Speaks will go toward examining potential environmental causes of autism, as well as research into treatments for autism.

NBC News’ Tom Brokaw served as the master of ceremonies for the Concert for Autism Speaks, which took place at Frederick P. Rose Hall - home of Jazz at Lincoln Center - in new York City and featured a special surprise performance by acclaimed singer-songwriter Michael McDonald. Jerry Seinfeld, Russell Simmons, the cast of “Saturday Night Live” and “All My Children’s” Leven Rambin, who portrays an individual with autism were among those in attendance.

“Autism is a disorder that is robbing families of the chance to fulfill their dreams and experience the everyday joys most of us take for granted,” said Bill Cosby. “For example, many children with autism are very limited in their ability to develop warm relationships with others, including their parents. We all need to do our part so that, with our help, these families will finally get the answers they so desperately seek.”

“When autism became a part of my family’s reality, I was determined to join Autism Speaks in its battle against this devastating disorder that is impacting thousands of families,” said Braxton, who is currently headlining in a long-term engagement at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. The mother of two children, one of whom has autism, went on to say, ‘So much progress is being made on all fronts-from the laboratory to Capital Hill - but all of us must continue to fight until we have found the cause and a cure for autism.”

“We are incredibly grateful to Bill and Toni for lending their remarkable talents to us for this truly memorable evening,” said Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks.

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 166 children in the united States, affecting four times a s 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.

Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of the growing autism epidemic and to raising money to fund scientists who are searching for a cure. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman and Executive Officer, General Electric, and Chairman, NBC Universal. Autism Speaks and Cure Autism Now (CAN) recently announced plans to combine operations, bringing together the two leading organizations, dedicated to accelerating and funding biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism spectrum disorders; to increasing awareness of the nation’s fastest growing developmental disorder; and to advocating for the needs of affected families. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit:


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