Celebrities, Elected Officials & Special Needs Network "Pump it Up" for Autism Awareness

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The 5th Annual Pink Pump Affair, sponsored by Toyota, Walmart and Wells Fargo, will benefit LA’s only free summer camp for children with autism, their siblings and peers.

Special Needs Children
It is such an incredible honor to have all of these remarkable women in one place showing their support for our work helping children with autism and other developmental disabilities

Special Needs Network will be joined by celebrities, elected officials and distinguished guests on Sunday, May 19, 2013 at the Montage Beverly Hills Hotel for the 5th Annual Pink Pump Affair. This exclusive, star-studded event will be emceed by CBS 2’s award-winning TV anchor Pat Harvey and will honor five outstanding women who have committed their lives to enriching their communities and making a difference for underserved children and families. Guests are encouraged to wear their most stylish pink high-heels to show how ‘pumped’ they are about increasing autism awareness and supporting children and families impacted by the disorder – a condition that impacts one in 50 children.

The Women of Distinction honorees will be recognized during a formal, glamorous afternoon-tea setting starting at 1:30 p.m. The honorees are: Anshu Batra, MD, pediatrician and autism expert; Delilah Lanoix-Harris, president and CEO of SMS Transportation, a company that provides transportation services for the disabled through Southern California; Tisha Campbell-Martin, award-winning actress, singer and autism advocate, best known for her roles in the hit TV shows “Martin” and “My Wife and Kids”; and successful entrepreneur and business woman, Candace Bond-McKeever, president and CEO of Strategic Solutions Group. California Congresswoman Hilda Solis, who served as the 25th United States Secretary of Labor from 2009 to 2013, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Guests of the event will enjoy an exclusive fashion show featuring a couture collection from DKNY’s women’s brand, part of the French fashion and luxury goods conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy and a host of other major international fashion houses. Acclaimed African American models Eva Marcille, Toracca Jones and Misee Harris will showcase the collection, including designer shoes and handbags. Eva Marcille won the third season of “America’s Next Top Model” and appeared for several seasons on the hit daytime show, “The Young and the Restless.” Tocarra Jones is a popular African American women’s fashion model and was also a contestant on “America’s Next Top Model.” Misee Harris is pediatric dentist; humanitarian and philanthropist most recently recognized for her campaign to become ABC’s first-ever black contestant on the hit show “The Bachelorette”.

“It is such an incredible honor to have all of these remarkable women in one place showing their support for our work helping children with autism and other developmental disabilities,” says Areva Martin, Esq. president and co-founder of Special Needs Network, the event’s beneficiary.

Celebrity honorary chairs and other special guests also include Holly Robinson-Peete – mother of an autistic child, actress and singer best known for her role on the hit show “21 Jump Street”; Vanessa Bell-Calloway who currently stars in the Showtime series, “Shameless,” and previously starred in the major motion picture, “Coming to America” with Eddie Murphy, among several other motion pictures; Charlayne Woodard – award-winning Broadway performer and playwright.

“We realize fund-raisers and special events are extremely popular nowadays and they all support equally important social causes,” says Martin. “Because of this, we really try to make our Pink Pump Affair a unique event that brings together powerful, committed women – women that deserve to be recognized for all they do, allowing us to raise the bar for helping children with special needs. Each year this event exceeds my expectations. It’s a truly inspiring and motiving event.”

All proceeds from the event will benefit SNN’s Parent Advocacy Mentor Program (PAM) and the Joe Patton Academy Camp (Camp JPAC) – the only free summer inclusion camp in South Los Angeles for kids with autism and related disabilities and their siblings. The summer camp benefits more than 300 local children.

Since its inception, SNN has worked with more than 30,000 children and families and is known as California’s resource organization for autism advocacy and serving under-served populations, particularly African American and Latino communities.

To learn more about SNN and their programs, visit specialneedsnetwork.org or call (213) 389-7100. SNN invites anyone with questions or concerns about autism and other developmental disabilities to contact their office for information on available resources, programs and service providers.

Special Needs Network (SNN) is based in Los Angeles and is California’s leading grassroots autism advocacy organization. As a nonprofit organization, SNN was established to help families faced with autism and other developmental disabilities. The organization focuses on raising public awareness, impacting public policy, increasing education and access to resources for families, children and adults. For more information, visit http://www.specialneedsnetwork.org.

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Jessica Munday
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