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April 21, 2016

CHOP, Eagles raise more than $40K for autism research

Sold-out event at Lincoln Financial Field draws more than 3,000 guests

CHOP Autism
042116_CHOPEagles Source/Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Eagles defensive back Eric Rowe takes a photo with guests at Sixth Annual Huddle Up for Autism event at Lincoln Financial Field on April 17, 2016.

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Eagles announced Thursday that last weekend's 6th Annual Huddle Up for Autism Event, held April 17 at Lincoln Financial Field, raised more than $40,000 to support research at CHOP's Center for Autism Research.

The sold-out event, open to children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), drew more than 3,000 guests to the Linc for a day of activities with Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham and defensive back Eric Rowe, as well as several members of the Temple University football team.

“On behalf of the Philadelphia Eagles, I would like to sincerely thank all the volunteers, sponsors, vendors and most importantly, the thousands of guests who came out to make Huddle Up for Autism the enjoyable experience that it was,” said Christina Weiss Lurie, president of the Eagles Charitable Foundation and Eagles Social Responsibility. “The fun-filled afternoon would not have been possible without the Center for Autism Research at CHOP’s dedicated commitment and preparation to this most important cause. We are proud that the funds raised at Huddle Up will contribute to CAR’s innovative and ground-breaking research in the field of autism.”

According to the Pennsylvania Autism Census, 55,000 residents in the state are currently receiving medical services for a form of ASD, while as many as 130,000 people may be living with undiagnosed autism. The Huddle Up for Autism Event provided a forum for families to learn from autism specialists and researchers as well as receive information about resources and research opportunities at the Center for Autism Research.

Those in attendance had the opportunity to run drills with Eagles players, burst through the Eagles inflatable helmet tunnel, kick field goals, and play a life-sized game of bowling.

“It can be hard for people on the autism spectrum to enjoy a regular game day at the stadium. The noise, crowds and excitement can be overwhelming. So when the Eagles offered the opportunity to create an event that would allow fans on the autism spectrum to meet some of the players, cheerleaders and SWOOP, as well as roam the stadium in a supportive environment, all while learning about resources and research, we were pleased to help them design it,” said Robert T. Schultz, PhD, director of the Center for Autism Research at CHOP. “We’re grateful for the Eagles’ ongoing commitment to supporting CAR’s mission to find the causes and treatments for autism spectrum disorders, educating families, and training professionals in the field.”

Both the Eagles and CHOP encouraged families to and interested volunteers to sign up at, which connects registered participants to regional research studies. Additional information on studies, resources and family workshops can be found at the websites of the Center for Autism Research (CAR) and the CAR Autism Roadmap.

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