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"An Evening with the Stars" Oscar Night Gala on Sunday, February 24, 2013 to Benefit Autism Speaks

Featuring WGN's Ted Brunson, Oprah Winfrey Network's Patti Vasquez and ABC's "190 North" Mark Nilsson

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - January 28, 2013) -  On Sunday, February 24, 2013, Autism Speaks is proud to announce the 5th Annual, An Evening with the Stars Red Carpet Spectacular, taking place at the InterContinental O'Hare Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois. 

An Evening with the Stars, which raised over $150,000 for autism research and awareness last year, will once again bring the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to the Windy City this February, featuring red carpet arrivals, pre-show interviews broadcast live on the big screen, and live and silent auctions with prizes ranging from dinner-theater packages to all-expense paid trips to Hollywood, New York City, and the Dominican Republic.

An Evening with the Stars is the only Oscar-themed fundraiser in Chicagoland to benefit children and families struggling with autism, a neurological disorder that affects 1 out of every 88 children. With the glamorous backdrop of the 85th Annual Academy Awards broadcast, all proceeds from this Hollywood themed fundraiser will benefit Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism.

Hosting this year's event are ABC's "190 North" Mark Nilsson, Emmy award-winning host of WGN-TV's Chicago's Best Ted Brunson and Chicago Comedienne/OWN Network star Patti Vasquez. Brunson and Vasquez both have a personal connection to autism. 

Guests will also be treated to a very special multi-media segment featuring the stories of individuals on the autism spectrum as well as a special musical segment by Chicago recording artist Andrew Salgado. The evening will culminate with the viewing of the 85th Annual Academy Awards® telecast on multiple giant screens inside the Intercontinental Ballroom. 

Co-Chairs Dan and Kerry Schlaack co-founded this event with long-time autism advocate Teri Steinberg in 2006, two years after their youngest son, Henry, was diagnosed with autism. When asked about the 2013 benefit, Schlaack commented, "We are thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response for this exciting evening benefiting those affected by autism and are touched by the tremendous support this fundraiser has received from the community, the media, an extremely dedicated committee, and some of Chicago's own stars who are joining us on the red carpet on Oscar night!" 

Joining the Schlaack's this year are Co-Chairs Christine Swiderski and Shari Gillespie, who also have a personal, family connection with Autism.

The 2013 An Evening With the Stars aims to raise $170,000. Tickets begin at $200 for individuals and sponsorships at $1,500 to $10,000 for tables of 4 to 10 people. Premier sponsorships include an all-inclusive evening starting at 5:30 pm with the special pre-show VIP reception as well as premier seating at the benefit. For more information, please call 224-567-8573 or visit www.eveningwiththestars.org.

Other VIP guests scheduled to attend An Evening with the Stars include (in alpha order, at press time): Actor and personality Aaron Freeman; Illinois State Senator Susan Garrett; (via video), Former Chicago Bears running back Mark Greene; Telemundo's Oscar Guzman; Former Chicago Bear John Janata;Former Chicago Bears wide receiver Glen Kozlowski; Actor Joe Mantegna (via video); WGN TV, WGN Radio and Chicago Tribune entertainment reporter Dean Richards (via video); and Former Chicago Bears tight end Jim Thornton.

About Autism
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders -- autism spectrum disorders -- caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum -- a 78 percent increase in six years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed over $195 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 95 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships and related activities in over 40 countries on 5 continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.

Note: This event is not affiliated with nor endorsed by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

CONTACT:
Liz Klug
Midwest Regional Director
Autism Speaks
224-567-8573
liz.klug@autismspeaks.org

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