Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Around the World in 80 Days for Autism - World Autism Day, April 2

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day, a day to raise autism awareness and increase knowledge of this growing global health concern. To aid in these efforts, Canadian pilots Chris Elgar and Dave McElroy are embarking on an innovative fundraising drive. .

McElroy, an active pilot for over 45 years, will fly around the world in 80 days (FlyRTW80) in a single engine aircraft, with a goal of raising $250,000 for The Hospital for Sick Children’s Autism Research Group. He will be the fourth Canadian to make the trip. McElroy's adventure will start on May 12 at Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport and route through Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, Polynesia, the USA, Central and South America and Canada before finishing in Scotland, where he currently lives.

McElroy has a personal connection to autism. His two grandchildren, Wylie and Finn both have Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). “We've experienced the priceless support of healthcare organizations so we wish to give back.”  

With their trip around the world, McElroy and Elgar aspire to raise awareness and funds to improve the lives of those affected by ASD. All donations will be given to Dr. Stephen Scherer's Autism Research Group at SickKids in Toronto. Dr. Scherer, a senior scientist in Genetics and Genome Biology and the Director of the Centre for Applied Genomics, is widely considered one of most prolific scientists in his field. His group has discovered numerous disease susceptibility genes and most recently has defined a handful of genetic factors underlying autism.

Elgar will accompany McElroy for a portion of the trip, while generous sponsors will be joining the pilot for other legs of the journey. Those that wish to support FlyRTW80's cause can do so by making a cash donation, providing corporate sponsorship, or even by purchasing a seat on the airplane. For more information or to make a donation please visit FlyRTW80 online.

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