Hundreds of supporters came out to donate their time and money to the Development Disabilities Institute (DDI) for their annual Rockin’ for Autism fundraising event at in Wantagh last Sunday.
Family and friends enjoyed the food, fun and the five bands that rocked the house including The Frontiers, One Step Ahead, The Michael Korb Band, The Good Envy and Dr. G's Wounded Warrior Band. Nearly 700 Long Islanders packed Mulcahy's to raise a record high of over $30,000 for DDI.
"It's overwhelming to see all these people here," said Christine McCaule, one of the organizers for "Rockin for Autism. "Most of the people that come out don't have any family members who have Autism. They just come out to support us."
Founded in 1961, DDI is a non-profit agency based in Smithtown that has served over 1,500 children and adults with Autism and other disabilities. All proceeds will go to benefit those who cannot speak for themselves.
Jim Cronin, co-chairman and member of the DDI Foundation Board and others spent the last 10 weeks preparing for the night. All their hard work paid off in the end.
“I’m overwhelmed with the amount of support here tonight,” said Cronin. “It’s tough times out there but they’re doing this for people with Autism and other disabilities.”
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano also made an appearance and thanked everyone who came out.
"I would like to thank the Developmental Disabilities Institute for the work that they do on behalf of people who have autism and for the developmentally disabled community as a whole," said Mangano. "It is organizations like DDI that are truly inspiring because they reach out and enhance the lives of others and it was my distinct honor to attend and support DDI at their outstanding Rockin' for Autism event in Wantagh."
"This cause is absolutely incredible," said Gail Khan, a Manhattan resident who came out to support the event. “The states budgets are being slashed and it’s great that there are so many people donating their money in this economy."
Massapequa resident Ellen Ford also attended the fundraiser and feels strongly about the cause. "I hope it does well and raises a lot of money for people with autism," said Ford.
"It’s so nice to see so many people support a cause like this," said Wozniak.
“More and more people are affected by this and it’s great for people to show support," said Veneziano, whose son utilizes DDI services.
Cronin believes the amount of money raised last Sunday exceeded the amount from last year.
“I’m so proud of everyone who helped put this together,” said Cronin.” They did an awesome job."
For more information about DDI visit their website.