iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Kim Stagliano

GET UPDATES FROM Kim Stagliano
 

A Reminder to Autism Speaks on Vaccine Research Promises

Posted: 11/11/08 12:03 PM ET

I wrote the post below last year, but it seems appropriate to bring it back because HuffPo contributor David Kirby has a piece running today called, Autism Speaks: Don't Rule Out Vaccines.

It's clear that both Bob and Suzanne Wright, the founders of Autism Speaks, want the same answers many of us in the autism community want regarding vaccination safety and the link to the diagnosis that has devastated so many lives, including their own. The very answers that the AAP, pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Paul Offit, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, the CDC, the mainstream media and surprising to me, most liberal bloggers, do NOT want.

And yet, Autism Speaks has moved at the pace of a gimpy snail to find answers, instead spending millions on genetics studies, social networking sites, glitzy fundraisers, six figure salaries, Park Avenue rent and media blitzes for "awareness." God almighty, we're aware already! When your two year old can't speak, you know "the signs." We need immediate answers for the kids who are here and growing older every day. And we need to stop the epidemic from continuing. Please Mr. and Mrs. Wright. Ask louder. Demand more. Threaten to shut down Autism Speaks unless you get answers.

Here's what I wrote:

On May 1, 2006, Suzanne Wright, founder of Autism Speaks promised me that Autism Speaks would study whether mercury and vaccines are part of the cause of the autism epidemic. Here's the video [Quicktime required].

Mrs. Wright made this promise at the Children Making Strides/Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation event in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she and David Kirby were the keynote speakers. Mr. Kirby is the author of Evidence of Harm, the book that discusses the mercury and autism connection. Both Mrs. Wright and Mr. Kirby were well received. And here's the Autism Speaks webpage showing Mrs. Wright with Doug Flutie.

I'd like to know why, in fifteen months and with tens of millions of research dollars, numerous "Walks" and fundraisers, I can see no progress toward answering my question. I mean Mrs. Wright no ill will. But if you're going to wear the crown of the founder, you have to expect the serfs to pick up a pitch fork every so often when their hunger (in my case, for answers) becomes overwhelming. I have three daughters with autism. Call me crazy, but I'd like some answers for my children.

If you've ever seen Mrs. Wright on Larry King or The Today Show or in person, I think you'll you agree with me that her passion to help her grandson Christian and my girls and the thousands of kids with an autism diagnosis is genuine. As is her grief. If she's acting, someone had better tell Meryl Streep that she's got some serious competition.

I'd like to know who (if anyone) is stopping Suzanne Wright from making good on her word. Is it Alison Singer? Is it Dr. Eric London? Is it pressure from pharmaceutical lobbyists? Is it the pharmaceutical companies themselves who've spent a fortune advertising on Bob Wright's NBC? (I realize he is no longer in that position.) Is it the US government who mandated the vaccines in the first place? What about The American Academy of Pediatrics who have steadfastly denied any link, even as they added a flu vaccine with 25 micrograms of mercury to the childhood schedule?

I suppose that I sound like I'm writing an X-Files episode. Well, it feels that way sometimes. "The truth is out there." was the show's motto after all.

Did Mrs. Wright suddenly change her mind? I don't think so. She is media savvy. She could have easily hemmed and hawed and said just enough to keep me from foaming at the mouth without making the firm promises you'll hear on this clip. I think she spoke from her heart and gut. I'll let you be the judge.

The clip is only two and half minutes long. I'm the shaky voiced gal who asks the second question. You'll hear Mrs. Wright say, "My new friend, Kim." Although that ship might have sailed after this post.

I'd like to thank these folks at Autism Media for providing the technical work for me.

 

Follow Kim Stagliano on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KimStagliano