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Yoko Ono's "Promise" on World Autism Awareness Day

Posted: 04/02/09 11:18 AM ET

Yoko Ono Lennon is one of my longest and most treasured friends. I was her and John Lennon's best man at their wedding in Gibraltar in 1969 and we've remained close ever since. She literally lives next door. I never cease to be amazed by her prolific output of art, music and creativity and by the fact that much of this talent is dedicated to good and worthy causes. Her latest feat is a fabulous mural called "PROMISE" which is being auctioned off in 67 acrylic puzzle pieces to benefit World Autism Awareness Day (she met John in '67 and, coincidentally, there are an estimated 67 million people around the world with Autism, a neurobiological disorder that steals language and social skills from children.) PROMISE symbolizes the coming together of society around children with autism and the unfinished work of the world in finding a cause and cure for autism. The 7-foot tall mural -- of a beautiful blue sky -- will be unveiled at the United Nations on April 2, which the UN has designated as World Autism Awareness Day in recognition of the spread of the epidemic and the need for early diagnosis and treatment.

World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) was passed unanimously by the UN General Assembly in 2008. Along with AIDS and diabetes, autism is one of only three health issues to be so observed by the UN. In addition to promoting worldwide knowledge of the autism epidemic and the importance of early intervention, WAAD celebrates the unique creative talents and skills of people with autism, and features community events around the world where individuals with autism are celebrated.

Please go online to bid on a unique "puzzle piece of art", signed by Yoko, at www.worldautismawarenessday.org. Bids start at $1,000. All proceeds go to Autism Speaks, the world's largest advocacy organization for autism awareness and research. With each winning bid is the promise that when the cure for autism is finally found, all pieces will be reassembled to mark the last World Autism Awareness Day.