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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    May 26, 2006

Release M-54-06




               Mayor Mufi Hannemann will be the special guest at the Local Autism Heroes luncheon of the Hawaii Chapter of Cure Autism Now, on May 31, 2006, at the Willows Restaurant, 901 Hausten St.

               Hannemann will present awards to five local heroes for their contributions in the fight to cure autism. The lunch is hosted by Cure Autism Now and is open to the public. Seating is limited. Call 393-5218 to RSVP.  

               Mayor Hannemann also will present a proclamation for WALK NOW Honolulu 2006, a 5-kilometer family walk and Autism Community Resource Fair that will be held on June 17 at Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park. The annual event is a fundraiser for Cure Autism Now and has raised nearly $100,000 to date. See the website for details.  

               Autism is the second most common development disorder in the United States today, affecting one in every 166 children. Autism impairs, often severely, a person’s ability  to communicate and interact with others.

               Cure Autism Now is a national organization of parents, clinicians and scientists dedicated to finding the causes, effectives, prevention and a cure for autism. More information may be obtained at the website

               “The dedication and love shown by families of children who suffer this heart-wrenching disorder and the unwavering efforts of Cure Autism now are truly inspirational,” said Hannemann. “It is an honor for me to help recognize some of their most exemplary efforts.”

               At Wednesday’s luncheon, Mayor Hannemann and the Hawaii Chapter of Cure Autism Now will honor the following individuals for their efforts and contributions:

·        Kalma Wong, the mother of four children, two of whom are autistic. Wong started the Hawaii Chapter of Cure Autism Now in 2003 and has served as chapter president and chair of WALK NOW for three years.

·        Christine Williams, WALK NOW Honolulu’s top fundraiser the past two years and a graduate student at the University of Hawaii. She has worked with children with autism as a skills trainer for the past five years.

·        Naomi Grossman, president of the Autism Society of Hawaii whose 16-year-old son has autism. She has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of children with autism and their families.

·        Laura Cook, an advocate and resource person for Hawaii’s autism community for eight years. She is the co-founder of the Hawaii Autism Resource Team and founder of the Pacific Autism Center in 2004. Her son is considered recovered from autism after six years of intense treatment.

·        State Rep. Dennis Arakaki (D-30th District), a 20-year-member of the Legislature and long-time champion for Hawaii’s children. Arakaki has served on the chapter’s honorary committee and has been a steadfast advocate for Cure Autism Now. 





            Bill Brennan, 527-6928

            Mark Matsunaga, 527-5767


Friday, May 26, 2006

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