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Autism Society of America, Jamie McMurray Partner for Katrina Relief; NASCAR’s McMurray Pledges Commitment to Disaster Relief for Autism Community


BETHESDA, Md., Sept. 13 -- The Autism Society of America (ASA), the nation’s most widely-recognized and largest grassroots organization serving the entire autism community, and NASCAR driver and ASA friend Jamie McMurray, have announced their collaboration to provide disaster relief for families of individuals with autism who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina. ASA and McMurray are deeply concerned about the welfare of all families who have been affected by this disaster, particularly those in the autism community.

McMurray, who has a niece with autism, is taking his ongoing commitment to ASA a step further in the wake of this tragedy. McMurray is making a $50,000 donation to ASA’s relief fund, and is pledging, along with ASA, a long-term, active commitment in the coming months to helping and supporting families during this relief effort. For its part, ASA has responded in key ways, with staff and members actively involved on the ground in Louisiana and Texas; setting up a donation and awareness page on its Web site with critical information on how to help and where to get help; and joining AutismCares, a new partnership with more than 10 national autism leadership organizations who have come together to coordinate support for the unique needs of families affected by autism.

“ASA is profoundly saddened for all families in the Gulf Coast who have lost so much due to this devastating natural disaster,” said ASA President & CEO Lee Grossman. “At the same time, as an organization that works for the interests of the autism community, we are troubled about the wellbeing of families of individuals on the spectrum. With Jamie’s generosity and support, we will help for as long as it takes to ensure these families receive the resources and care they need to get back on their feet quickly.”

“I have decided to work with my friends at ASA to help provide aid to the families affected by Hurricane Katrina that are also affected by loved ones with autism,” McMurray said. “There are numerous families that are being housed in the Houston Astrodome and all throughout the Gulf Coast region that have a relative with autism who is not able to get needed supplies and resources during this natural disaster. I keep thinking about if it was my sister and niece that were being housed in one of the numerous shelters set up, and my niece did not have all her special food and medicine that she requires on a daily basis and was unable to follow her daily routine. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to ensure my family’s safety and comfort. So for all the people who have lost everything, this is the least I can do.”

ASA is also committed to helping families prepare in advance for emergencies and natural disasters. Go to for ASA’s Disaster Preparedness Tips, particularly for those with special needs.

How To Help Katrina Victims

-- Autism Society of America: To donate, go to the ASA Web site at .

-- AutismCares:

-- The American Red Cross:

-- The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to help in the affected areas. Media may sign up online at .

In addition, victims of the storm needing assistance can call the Salvation Army for help at 888-363-2769.

-- The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS): Humans aren’t the only victims of Katrina’s wrath. HSUS has deployed its Disaster Animal Response Teams to the region who are equipped to respond to the needs of all animals -- including pets, horses, farm animals, and wildlife. For more, go to .

How to Get Help/Missing Persons Forums

-- Help for those with disabilities:

-- Comprehensive lists of help and services for evacuees

(I) Yahoo Katrina Evacuee Resources:


-- Housing:

-- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

-- This Web site, which provides information on New Orleans, now includes a missing person forum at

-- Yahoo! Search for Missing Persons:

-- Craigslist:


The Autism Society of America (ASA) is the leading voice and resource of the entire autism community in education, advocacy, services, research and support. The ASA is committed to meaningful participation and self-determination in all aspects of life for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. ASA accomplishes its mission through close collaboration with a successful network of 200 chapters, and hundreds of thousands of members and supporters.

For more information about autism or ASA, visit the ASA Web site,, or call toll-free, 800-3AUTISM (800-328-8476).


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