Holly Robinson Peete's Fight for Those With Autism & Parkinson's Is Personal

Holly Robinson Peete, Moms Who InspireMany women in the "sandwich generation" find themselves caring for their children and their parents simultaneously. As if that weren't daunting enough, actress and activist Holly Robinson Peete faces the additional challenges of parenting a son with autism and caring for a father with Parkinson's disease. And her ability to do so with grace and courage is the reason she's one of CafeMom's #MomsWhoInspire.


The 51-year-old, who's also tried her hand at singing and modeling, has been married to former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete for more than 20 years. Shortly after the couple wed, Robinson Peete's dad, the beloved Gordon from Sesame Street, was diagnosed with the progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement.

Wanting to do all she could to advance research, Holly, together with her husband, formed the HollyRod Foundation, aimed at offering help and hope to others facing the debilitating illness.

Little did the couple know that they'd be expanding the nonprofit organization's mission to those affected by autism following their son RJ's diagnosis.

The charitable foundation currently provides compassionate care and services to underserved individuals and families who are burdened financially and emotionally by Parkinson's disease. It also supplies technology grants, therapeutic devices, and emotional support to families and individuals living with autism.

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While other moms might shrink under the weight of assisting loved ones with two such serious conditions, Robinson Peete has risen to challenge and lets nothing stand in her way. 

The mom to four coauthored the award-winning book My Brother Charlie with her daughter, Ryan Elizabeth Peete. The heartwarming and widely beloved tale explains what it's like to have a sibling with autism.

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Following it up, the mother-daughter duo has recently released Same But Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express, which features RJ as a coauthor and illustrates the strides he's made, thanks to the constant support of his family.

Robinson Peete has been quoted as saying:

I wouldn't change my son for the world but I would change the world for my son.

Actually, Holly, you're changing the world for a lot of people, and for that, we honor you. 


Image via Jen Lowery / Splash News; Design by Anne Meadow

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