When my son Antonio was born, I had big dreams for his future as most mothers do. I imagined that he would grow up to become a doctor, a lawyer or even a baseball player. Nothing seemed too big for my precious young son to accomplish. But as Antonio began to grow, I sensed that something was wrong with his development. My worst fears were realized when at the age of 3, he was diagnosed with autism.
At first, I was devastated. In my mind, everything that I wished for my son instantly disappeared. As most parents probably do when they get this sort of life altering news, I scoured the internet, trying to gather as much information as possible. Since that day, I have learned so much about autism, treatment options and research.
The most important thing I have learned since Antonio’s diagnosis is that there is hope, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is one reason for my optimism. I was surprised to learn that, right here on Long Island, there is an institution that is leading the world’s research in autism, cancer and other devastating genetic diseases that affect so many lives.
Their world-class team of scientists are looking at what causes autism and have new theories based on genetics. After testing the DNA of more than 1,000 autistic children, scientists at the Lab have uncovered many genes likely to be involved in autism, and are now identifying the brain connections that these genes control in an effort to develop new diagnostic tools and drugs. I believe that someday, because of the research being done at the Lab, diseases such as autism and cancer will be treated or prevented, and families like mine will no longer suffer so greatly.
I write to you today on behalf of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory because I believe in their work. A donation to the Lab will bring us even closer to understanding autism and other genetic diseases. I hope you will consider supporting their important work during this holiday season and becoming one of “Antonio’s Angels.”