2013-03-24-images2.jpegYou will have many, many chances to make contributions of time or money to different worthy causes. In some special cases, you, too, will have to ask the question, “If not me, then who?”

— Bob Wright, 2007 commencement speaker at Holy Cross College

Bob and Suzanne Wright have had their lives transformed in ways that most of us cannot imagine. A decade ago, Bob Wright was vice chairman of General Electric, CEO of NBC/Universal and considered one of the most successful media executives of his time. Yet at the pinnacle of his corporate success his life began to change.

In 2004, Bob and Suzanne Wright were concerned grandparents helping their daughter with their grandson, who had an undiagnosed affliction. By 2005 their family was privately struggling to deal with the specter of autism, something about which they had almost no knowledge. By 2006, the Wrights had brought together autism organizations from around the country into their newly founded Autism Speaks and had plunged into a national awareness campaign. And by 2007, Suzanne had addressed the United Nations and Bob had testified before Congress on the need for research into this developmental disorder. It was a path taken with almost frightening speed and yet the Wrights say that they are never moving fast enough.

The couple have become world leaders in advocating for autism. They have created a rallying cry for research, care, treatment and national and global focus. In changing their lives the Wrights have forever changed the lives of millions of others.

When families are in crisis they often turn inward, pulling together in search of a solution for whatever pains them. For Suzanne and Bob Wright, this is exactly what happened when they found out that their daughter’s son, their grandson Christian, had autism. Christian was the first child born to their daughter Katie late in the summer of 2001. A healthy thriving six and a half pound baby boy, he was born at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, where Bob Wright was a long time trustee.

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