NY Giants Super Bowl Champion Carl Banks Becomes Ambassador for Autism

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Football Great Partners With Mariner's Bank To Host Celebrity Golf Tournament Event Benefits Bergen Community College Center For Autism

New York Giants Super Bowl Champion Carl Banks has a new challenge to tackle -- autism. He will host the Carl Banks-Mariner's Bank Golf Invitational to raise money and awareness for Bergen Community College Center for Autism on Tuesday, September 22, 2009.

"This disease has had a profound impact on my life after my twin nephews were diagnosed with Autism," Banks says. "I want to help them and other kids stricken with Autism."

Banks will be joined by his former teammate Lawrence Taylor, actors Dan Grimaldi, Richard Kind and Steven Schrippa, football legend Jim Brown, rapper Doug E. Fresh and former heavy weight boxer Gerry Cooney.

Autism is a severe developmental disorder that is diagnosed within the first two-and-a-half years of life. Most autistic children appear perfectly normal, but spend their time engaged in puzzling and disturbing behavior.

Dr. Jeff Boscamp, head of pediatrics at Hackensack Medical Center, said one in 94 children in New Jersey are diagnosed with autism.

"I believe there is so much potential in these kids and I'm determined to make sure resources are available to help all Autistic children with their development," Banks says. "The number of diagnoses means that there are a lot of families in need of help."

Bergen Community College President Dr. Jerry Ryan said the college's autism center will offer college courses, training and educational programs for children diagnosed with autism.

"It's a place where children with autism can go to college and get an education," said Ryan. "Some of the kids are able to negotiate the daily classes and others are training for jobs in the community they can handle."

Mariner's Bank President Jim Cockinos and Bank Chairman Fred Dabies both have children diagnosed with autism. They're excited about the fundraiser because they know the challenges families face when a child is diagnosed.

"We wanted to support the program when we heard about it," said Cockinos. "There are a lot of children who have been diagnosed and their parents don't have the resources to help them find their niche in life. The Bergen Community College Autism Center will help prepare them to be productive.

The golf tournament will be held at the Montammy Golf Club in Alpine, NJ. The event includes breakfast, 18 holes of championship golf and high stakes Texas Hold 'Em (for non golfers) dinner and auction. Prizes include: cars, jewelry, electronics, travel, sports packages and much more.

Carl Banks is available for media interviews.

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Anne Chapman

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