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Gala raises awareness and funds for autism

NEWARK: On Dec. 2, The Autism Center of New Jersey Medical School will host its Third Annual Dinner/Dance benefit at the Mezzanine, 744 Broad Street, Newark, featuring the Mike Carubia Orchestra. Funds raised during this evening of "glamour and elegance" will support the center's ongoing efforts to advance research, treatment and outreach in the field of autism.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the incidence of autism is on the rise. In the last 10 years, the number of people affected in New Jersey has increased 1,000 percent.

"At a time when autism affects approximately one in 165 children, we can't begin to imagine the effect autism will have on our society, both from a financial and ethical perspective," said Jeffrey Gitterman, chair of The Autism Center of New Jersey Medical School's Advisory Board and the parent of an autistic son.

"The Autism Center of New Jersey Medical School is driven by sound, innovative science and supported and enhanced by community involvement, particularly the involvement of our dedicated donors," said Charles Cartwright, interim medical director of The Autism Center. "We are encouraged by and indeed indebted to them for their stalwart support for such an important cause".

The evening will also feature the recognition of three people whose dedication to the field of autism has played an important role in the growth of The Autism Center:

Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who sponsored of the TEACH Act (Teacher Education for Autistic Children Act) and recently established the state Office of Children and Families to focus on New Jersey's most vulnerable population;
Barbie Zimmerman-Bier, a developmental pediatrician who is the division director for child development in the Department of Pediatrics at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School and the clinical director of The Autism Center;
Linda Walder Fiddle, Esq., executive director and founder of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, which supports programs and services for adolescents and adults with autism;
Tickets are $275 per person or $500 per couple, which includes valet parking, cocktail hour, silent and live auction, dinner, dancing and dessert hour. The event begins at 5 p.m. and features a performance by the St. Benedict's Preparatory School Vocal Ensemble.

Priceless Events, a full-service event planning company, provided its services for the event gratis.

For tickets or information, visit the Autism Center's Web site or
contact Marcy Gitterman at (732) 343-0735 or