Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Couple Shares Their Wedding Day with CAR

Stacy Lunetta
Clinical Audiologist
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
When the time came to select a wedding favor for our guests for our May 2011 wedding, my husband Adam Douberly and I decided that a donation to the Center for Autism Research (CAR) would be much more meaningful to our friends and family than almonds or chocolates.
As a Clinical Audiologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, I am fully aware of the benefits of multi-disciplinary research institutions in finding effective treatments.  Thus in making our donation to CAR at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, we knew we had an opportunity to help an institution that was both local and very close to our hearts.
Dane Soda is one of our three 10-year old triplet cousins, and he was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Since his diagnosis, our family has rallied around Dane, his challenges and successes, and has worked together to give him the opportunities that his brother and sister have.  With the help of his dedicated parents, supportive family, and selfless teachers, Dane has grown from a complete introvert to a child who wants to be a part of everything. With intense supports, Dane also grew from a kid who existed only on a liquid diet, to a child who now orders filet mignon at restaurants. Seeing Dane blossom into a very active, happy, healthy, successful child had left us wanting to help give other children with autism the same opportunities.
Our donation to CAR allowed to us to give to a wonderful cause that was incredibly personal. It is amazing how little attention and funding is given to pediatric autism research efforts despite the astounding prevalence and how many kids are newly diagnosed each day. Each guest in attendance to our wedding received a pin with puzzle piece ribbon, kindly supplied by CAR, in hopes of raising autism awareness amongst our family and friends. These ribbons were proudly worn by our wedding guests and seeing them displayed in wedding photos will be a lifelong reminder of our small gift to a great cause.  
All donations to the Center for Autism Research (CAR) directly support research into the causes of autism spectrum disorders and effective interventions. For more information on donating to CAR, visit our Children's Hospital Foundation page or email autism@email.chop.edu.