Feeling a little blue today? On World Autism Awareness Day that's the point -- as people, landmarks, and businesses around the world "go blue" in order to raise more awareness about this disorder that affects so very many.
Organized by Autism Speaks, it's a day designed to "shine a light on autism". The latest numbers are shocking -- 1 in every 88 children is diagnosed with some form of autism, according to the latest CDC report. While there may be some good in that jump in numbers (a 78 percent increase in that last decade) because of increased diagnosis and treatment, at the heart of it is nothing but heartbreak for the families facing autism.
So today it's great to see the blue light shine as we stop to remember something many families can't forget for a moment and to pledge to fight against it together. Here are some unexpected places you may see blue today:
Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us are offering apps to help supporters turn their Facebook pages blue. Home Depot is selling blue light bulbs and donating a portion of sales to Autism Speaks. Small businesses from gymnastics studios to law firms in towns around the world will be lit in blue as well. Plenty of other businesses are offering special buys -- including things like chocolate and hotel rooms -- that will support autism awareness.
The University of Michigan for one is kicking off the month with balloons, fliers, and blue ribbons to raise awareness on campus. As event organizer Zara Shore told AnnArbor.com: “Some people don’t talk about autism unless they have been personally affected by it. It’s something that should be discussed and known about by everyone.”
The Empire State Building
Tonight the landmark will shine blue in the New York skyline.
Landmarks around the world
From Aspen Mountain bathed in blue to the Great Buddha at Hyogo in Kobe, Japan, an amazing array of landmarks has joined the fight with blue light over the years. Here's a video of some of the past participants:
While all the blue certainly won't cure autism, and campaigns like this have been dismissed by others in the past, I think what it does more than anything is give us hope -- hope that we are committed to learning more about this baffling disorder, and hope that we will someday be able to better help families facing it and prevent others from facing it at all.
Are you going blue today? Do you see all the blue support as a sign of hope?
Image via YouTube