Smitty's joins Autism Speaks Canada in campaign for autism research

    Eleven Smitty's locations in Edmonton area launch Puzzle Piece Campaign
    to raise money and awareness about autism.

    EDMONTON, July 31 /CNW/ -  On August 1, Smitty's Restaurants in Edmonton,
St. Albert, Red Deer and Sherwood Park will launch a month-long "Puzzle Piece"
promotion to raise money for autism research and awareness. Customers at 11
Smitty's Restaurant locations will be able to purchase $1 Autism Speaks puzzle
pieces, with all proceeds being directed towards autism research. The campaign
ends on September 7, the day of Autism Speaks Canada's inaugural Edmonton
Capital Region Walk Now for Autism being held at Lion's Park in St. Albert.
    "We are very excited to have this opportunity to raise much needed
dollars to support autism research in Canada. We have an incredible staff who
are ready to make this campaign a success and a supportive clientele who we
know, will help us achieve our goal of raising $10,000 for this worthy cause,"
said Rob Sroka , Vice-President of Lavtor Holdings, owners of 10 of the 11
restaurants participating.
    Upon hearing about the campaign, Kevin Mockford, owner of the Sherwood
Park location jumped at the chance to participate. "It's a great way for us to
show our support of the autism community and we're thrilled to be on board,"
noted Mockford.
    "Smitty's has done a wonderful job in turning a challenging incident in
early July into an incredible positive for the autism community. The real
thanks goes to Sarah Seymour and her family for identifying a great
opportunity to raise awareness and support for autism in the Edmonton area and
across Canada. Sarah has told me that she'll be among the first to visit her
local Smitty's with her 5 year old daughter Eowyn, who is on the autism
spectrum," noted Suzanne Lanthier, Executive Director of Autism Speaks Canada.


    Autism Speaks Canada, the Canadian arm of 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. Autism Speaks 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 for more than
twenty years. To-date, over $6 million in funds have been provided to the
Canadian autism research community from coast to coast in grants provided by
Autism Speaks. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit


    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, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of
autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. There is currently no known
cause for autism. Learning the early warning signs is key to early diagnosis
and early treatments and interventions.

For further information:

For further information: Suzanne Lanthier, Executive Director, Autism
Speaks Canada,, (888) 362-6227, (416) 388-3139; Rob
Sroka, Vice President, Lavtor Holdings, (780) 408-2045

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