Campaign Focuses On How Families Can "Light It Up Blue" To Raise Autism Awareness Across Canada
TORONTO, March 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Toys"R"Us, Canada today announced the launch of its in-store and online fundraising campaign to benefit Autism Speaks, North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Now through Monday, April 30, Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores will offer customers an Autism Speaks puzzle piece in exchange for a $1 donation. Monetary donations will be collected at all 73 stores (including Express locations) across the country and online at Toysrus.ca. The company is heightening its focus on autism awareness, unveiling a new theme for the 2012 campaign, "Shine A Light For Autism."
"With so many children affected by autism and not enough known about causes or cures, we hope that our fundraising and awareness campaigns can contribute to solving the autism puzzle," said Kevin Macnab, President, Toys"R"Us Canada. "Through our ongoing partnership, the "R"Us family remains committed to helping Autism Speaks and the critical work they do in supporting families affected by autism spectrum disorders."
Shining A Light For Autism In-store and online
During the campaign, customers can contribute a cash donation at all Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us locations, including Express locations, and online at Toysrus.ca.
In-store signage displayed in Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores across the country feature children with autism dressed as super-heroes, with the Autism Speaks puzzle piece logo as their powerful emblem. The puzzle pieces are bursting with light, while inspiring everyone to donate to the cause by looking to the hero within.
"Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores across Canada are in a unique position to reach numerous parents daily, providing important awareness information about autism in their stores, as well as online," said Suzanne Lanthier, Executive Director of Autism Speaks Canada. "We are thrilled to bring hope to families who live with the realities of autism every day, through ongoing support in our research and advocacy efforts."
Toysrus.ca also serves as a resource for parents, caregivers, families and friends of children with autism. Visitors can find a list of "Ten Toys That Speak To Autism," which provides toy suggestions to help guide anyone purchasing toys for a child with autism.
Walking To Benefit Autism Speaks
In conjunction with the campaign, the company is also kicking off its national sponsorship of Walk Now for Autism Speaks, a year-long series of more than 85 walk events taking place throughout North America. Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us employees will walk alongside the company's iconic mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe, as well as individuals with autism, their families and friends to raise money and awareness for the cause. All funds raised through the Walk Now for Autism Speaks events will go directly to Autism Speaks to support research awareness and family services programs in Canada.
Since the partnership began in 2010, Toys"R"Us Canada has provided Autism Speaks Canada with more than $1.3 million. Last year's in-store and online fundraising campaign raised more than $700,000 for Autism Speaks in Canada.
Over the course of the partnership, contributions from the Toys"R"Us campaign have helped Autism Speaks Canada increase its support of research initiatives in Canada as well as helped fund Community Grants supporting agencies and organizations across the country who work with children, youth and adults who live with autism as well as their families.
About Toys"R"Us, Canada:
Toys"R"Us (Canada) Ltd., is part of Toys"R"Us, Inc., the world's leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer. Toys"R"Us, Canada operates 73 stores across the country. For store locations and convenient online shopping visit www.toysrus.ca or babiesrus.ca. Follow Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us on Facebook at Facebook.com/toysruscanada and Facebook.com/babiesruscanada.
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by significant behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 110 children, affecting four times as many boys as girls. Autism is a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown. Children with Autism grow up to be adults with Autism and few resources exist in Canada to address the needs of the adult community.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $160 million to research through 2014 and developing innovative new 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 (which include two Canadian sites in Toronto and Edmonton), 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." Each year Walk Now forAutism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America including Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal, London and Waterloo-Wellington. To learn more about Autism Speaks Canada and the Walk Now for Autism Speaks program, go to www.autismspeaks.ca or www.walknowforautismspeaks.ca.
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