Hockey Blog In Canada is proud to present another great organization helping out the community today. There are a number of NHL players involved with this organization, and there has even been a jersey worn to help garner some attention for this very good cause. Today, Hockey Blog In Canada is proud to speak about Athletes Against Autism. Athletes Against Autism (AAA) was founded by three NHL players: Olaf Kolzig, Byron Dafoe, and Scott Mellanby. AAA is an extension of Autism Speaks, an organization that helps people with autism by funding research in finding a cure for autism as well as raising awareness of this disease.
Mission Statement: Athletes Against Autism (Triple A) is a group of athletes, personally touched by autism, who are harnessing their efforts into one voice in order to raise awareness and funds for autism research, treatment and education programs.
How Did Athletes Against Autism Start?: Olaf Kolzig, Byron Dafoe, and Scott Mellanby were personally touched by autism. The three NHL players are fathers of children with autism, and they realized the importance of using their celebrity status and influence to help over 1.5 million people in the United States alone affected by autism.
According to the webpage, "autism is a developmental disability that affects, often severely, a person's ability to communicate and socially interact with others. It is four times more prevalent in males than females", and it is believed that autism affects 1 in every 150 people.
Again, this is something of which I was unaware. Much like the info with Team25, autism is a pretty serious affliction that affects a lot of people. And it appears the rate of affliction isn’t slowing down. According to AAA’s website, "the majority of experts agree these changes are not enough to explain the epidemic rates at which autism is being diagnosed".
The symptoms of autism can vary greatly between individuals. The term to include the different types of autism is called Autism Spectrum Disorders. This spectrum includes the traditional type of autism, known as Kanner's autism or Kanner's syndrome, as well as Asperger's syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). However, there are some commonalities between the different syndromes. All people with autism demonstrate impairments in three areas: communication, social relationships and restricted patterns of behavior.
Again, pretty serious stuff. And that's why I am exposing these great organizations, and the selfless work the NHL players do for the community.
As stated above, goaltenders Olaf Kolzig and Byron Dafoe and forward Scott Mellanby are the founding members of Athletes Against Autism. However, there are a number of other NHL players who lend their time and support to this organization. Some of these players are Stu Barnes (DAL), Dustin Brown (LAK), Scott Gomez (NYR), Jeff Halpern (TBL), Dany Heatley (OTT), and Alexander Ovechkin (WAS). However, the list of athletes is long, and the entire member roster can be viewed here. There are Olympic gold medalists, MLB players, MLS players, PGA tour members, NFL players, and NBA players on that list, showing the wide range of athletes who support this organization.
Athletes Against Autism also partners with some smaller organizations that help to bring light to the battle against autism. These organizations include the Carson Kolzig Foundation, the Mellanby Autism Foundation, the Travis LaBoy Foundation, the American Special Hockey Association, and the Los Angeles Legends of Basketball. I encourage you to read more about how these smaller organizations are working in your local communities to help those afflicted with autism.
How Can I Help?: If you'd like to help Athletes Against Autism in their work to find a cure for this disease, I encourage you to click here. That link will take you to the Athletes Against Autism donation page where you can make a donation. If you're interested in helping out in other ways, I encourage you to check out all the events that this organization is putting on to help raise funds for autism research. Also, you can receive the Athletes Against Autism newsletter in your email if you're interested in their work by filling out the form on this page. Lastly, I encourage you to contact Athletes Against Autism if you have any questions by calling them at (888)-8AUTISM at extension 747, emailing them at aaa-at-cureautismnow-dot-org, or by writing them via snail mail at the following address:
Athletes Against Autism
5455 Wilshire Blvd. #2250
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Athletes Against Autism, the NHLPA, Olaf Kolzig, Byron Dafoe, and Scott Mellanby are helping the communities they live in. It's time for us to help them as well. Oh, and if you see one of these practice jerseys, pick it up. The money is going to the Autism Speaks Foundation, and you get a cool one-of-a-kind jersey.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!