When Bob and Suzanne Wright learned that one of their grandchildren had received a diagnosis of autism, it would have been easy for them to use their wealth and contacts from Bob's former post as CEO of NBC to arrange for the best private care and worry only about their own family.
Instead, typically, they worried about all the families with children who have autism. They decided to devote themselves to raising awareness about autism and greatly expanding the research into its causes and treatment. Together Bob, 65, and Suzanne, 61, launched Autism Speaks, which quickly became a global crusade against this mysterious and debilitating condition.
They successfully pressed Congress to allocate more research money. They convened the best experts in the field. They raised millions of dollars from their friends at events across the U.S. And they successfully lobbied the United Nations to place autism on the global health agenda.
For those of us who have known Bob and Suzanne for a long time, none of this came as a surprise. The products of modest beginnings, they have never taken their good fortune for granted. In their devotion to family and their faith, they always ask, "How can we help?" When it comes to autism, they won't quit until we have some answers.
Brokaw, an NBC News special correspondent, is a former NBC Nightly News anchor
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