Inspired by his own accomplishments after growing up with autism, graduate student Kerry Magro was actively involved in Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and continuously works with Autism Speaks and the NBA to raise awareness for a cure.
Magro said he decided to raise autism awareness because he wanted to show children affected by autism that “anything is possible.”
“I never assumed in a million years I would have been able to get to college let alone graduate with honors,” Magro said. “With one in 88 children now being diagnosed with autism, I know there are going to be a lot of future Kerrys growing up out there with autism and I want to be there for these individuals and let them know that anything is possible.”
According to Magro, his involvement in Autism Awareness Day had to do with his work with Autism Speaks. He is currently the Community Manager at Autism Speaks and has been working on the “Light It Up Blue” campaign.
“‘Light It Up Blue'” is a campaign where we encourage people around the world on April 2 to wear blue and light their houses up blue through blue light bulbs.” Magro said. “I’ve been campaigning for this for the past several weeks through a video blog we started via Autism Speaks called ‘Kerry’s Korner.'”
Aside from his video blog, on April 2, Magro spoke on BBC Radio about autism and helped ring the opening bell at The New York Stock Exchange.
“Myself and Autism Speaks were also involved in helping to light The Empire State Building up blue,” he said. “It was a lot of fun because I also had the opportunity to meet Tommy Hilfiger who was a speaker at both events.”
Magro also works with the NBA to raise awareness for autism. He said that he chose the NBA because his two biggest passions in life are basketball and disability advocacy.
“The first time I had the opportunity to raise awareness for autism through the NBA was for an event I did a blog on for Autism Speaks in 2010 called ‘Tip off for a Cure’ at The Metropolitian Museum of Art in The Temple of Dendur,” Magro said. “We partnered this event with NBA Cares where several current and former NBA Players attended.”
Magro added that a few weeks ago, after seeing his story in The Seton Hall Magazine, the NBA reached out to him again and wanted to do a piece about him and his work for autism.
During his experiences with the NBA, Magro said has had the opportunity to meet players such as Dikembe Mutumbo, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Oscar Robertson, Albert King, Darryl Dawkins and Butch Beard amongst others.
Aside from working with Autism Speaks and the NBA, Magro said his proudest moments are meeting with parents of autistic children.
“So many parents who have children with autism have contacted me via my work and asked me about my life growing up and how that can help their children,” Magro said. “I’ve heard so many beautiful stories in the past couple of years and made so many connections for life I would probably say my proudest accomplishment is that I get to be there for them and hopefully know it will help to lead for a better day for their son or daughter.”
Magro is also a motivational speaker and founder/president of the non-profit organization KFM Making a Difference in The Community, which is focused on special need housing for adults with physical or learning disabilities.
“I also do a great deal of writing for disability advocacy blogs and was a script writer for The Motion Picture ‘Joyful Noise’ which came out in January featuring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton,” Magro said. “Next year I will also hopefully be coming out with my first novel called ‘On The Spectrum: How to Successfully Navigate College with a Learning Disability’.”
Kimberly Bolonini can be reached at email@example.com