From Autism Speaks:
Autism Speaks announced today that its co-founder Suzanne Wright died this afternoon, Friday, July 29, at her home in Fairfield, CT. Suzanne, who fought a courageous nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer, was surrounded by her family at the time of her death. She was 69.
In 2005, Suzanne and her husband, Bob Wright, co-founded Autism Speaks after their grandson, Christian, was diagnosed with autism. Guided by the Wrights’ leadership and vision, Autism Speaks has since grown into the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization.
At the helm of Autism Speaks, Suzanne helped create the iconic blue puzzle-piece logo that is now recognized around the world to represent autism. Working with the Ad Council and BBDO Worldwide, Suzanne and Bob Wright launched a ten-year public service announcement campaign that is credited with educating countless families about the early signs of autism. Suzanne also led Autism Speaks’ signature global awareness initiatives. Her indefatigable determination was key to persuading the United Nations to establish April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day, establishing the annual World Focus on Autism, and launching the international Light It Up Blue campaign, which this year lit landmarks, buildings and homes in 157 countries.
As part of the United Nations’ World Autism Awareness Day, Suzanne addressed the United Nations’ General Assembly every year for eight consecutive years. In addition, in conjunction with this event, she organized and hosted the annual World Focus on Autism, an unprecedented gathering of first ladies and dignitaries from around the world, devoted to planning and coordinating efforts to raise autism awareness. In November 2014, Suzanne spoke at the Vatican’s first-ever conference on autism, where she called for all nations and faiths to “walk next to the 70 million children, teens and adults with autism around the world every day.”