HOLLY ROBINSON PEETE AND RODNEY PEETE HOST THE 14TH ANNUAL DESIGNCARE TO BENEFIT THE HOLLYROD FOUNDATION
Grammy Award-Winner Natalie Cole Performed Live
by Josie Roman
Saturday, July 21, 2012, The number of people diagnosed with autism has increased dramatically since the 1980s. Autism levels have increased ten-fold over the past decade worldwide. The CDC now claims autism levels in the United States has reached 1 in 88 children. It is even higher in the case of boys with 1 in 54 boys claimed to have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The number of children identified with ASDs ranged from 1 in 210 children in Alabama to 1 in 47 children in Utah. The largest increases were among Hispanic and black children. Research seems to be linking ASD to a wide range of causes but uncertainty remains and more research is needed.
Celebrities and friends joined hosts Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete, at a private estate in Malibu, for the 14th annual DesignCare, a celebration of fashion and music, to benefit the HollyRod Foundation. Guests enjoyed a lavish evening under the stars with festivities including a cocktail reception, silent and live auction and runway show by Los Angeles fashion designer Sue Wong. The evening also featured special musical performances by Natalie Cole and Jeffrey Osborne, led by music director, Rickey Minor. The annual event raises funds for those living with autism and Parkinson’s disease.
Honorees for DesignCare included Justin Kanew and Zev Glassenberg (The Amazing Race) who received the HollyRod Champion Award. The two friends and their friendship of twenty years have been an inspiration to millions thru their participation in the TV show as Kev has Asperger syndrome, which is in the ASD spectrum. NBA great Brian Grant who received the Matthew T. Robinson Jr. Award of Courage. Brian was diagnosed with Parkingson after 12 years in the NBA. CEO and Chairman, Gerald L. Storch received the HollyRod Corporate Compassion Award on behalf of Toys“R”Us, Inc. The company has put special effort in developing and marketing educational toys, including some aiming to help children with disabilities. “We have the words We Love Kids’ in out budgets, and that is true. It is in our DNA” Storch said.
Among the multiple programs, HollyRod Foundation introduced the “Give the Gift of Voice” campaign providing tablet computers and specially-designed apps to help give a voice to those without. 50% of children living with autism have extreme difficulty learning to speak, 25% of them never will.
American Airlines served as the Official Airline of DesignCare 2012. Additional sponsors included Outback Steakhouse, Target, Wen Hair & Body Care by Chaz Dean, Babakul, Audi Beverly Hills, and NARS.
The HollyRod Foundation was founded in 1997 by NFL quarterback Rodney Peete and actress Holly Robinson Peete. The foundation is dedicated to providing help and hope to those living with autism and Parkinson’s disease. Efforts of the HollyRod Foundation are providing a better quality of life through support and resources for individuals and their families. In 2012, the HollyRod Foundation became a charitable services Fund of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF).