Rockville Centre Blue Speaks co-founder Mary Lou Cancellieri was appointed to the New York State Autism Advisory Board on March 9.
The advisory board has 19 members and operates under the jurisdiction of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. The board is responsible for studying and reviewing the effectiveness of current services, identifying legislative and regulatory changes necessary for improvements and reviewing ways to improve coordination of services among the various state agencies serving the population.
State Senator Todd Kaminsky recommended Cancellieri for the position because of her “tireless advocacy on behalf of the special needs community.”
“I am proud to appoint Mary Lou, one of the most passionate and dedicated people I know, to the New York State Autism Advisory Board,” said Kaminsky. “Her passion is spreading awareness about autism, and I am excited to see her bring that dedication to the Board. Long Island needs a voice in this important arena, and I know that Mary Lou Cancellieri will fight for the entire region to be represented in statewide decisions concerning autism.”
Blue Speaks works with local, regional and national partners to spread awareness about autism and raise money for research.
“I would like to thank Senator Kaminsky and Governor [Andrew] Cuomo for this appointment on the New York State Autism Advisory Board,” said Cancellieri. “I look forward to supporting the families from the autism community on Long Island.”
When one of their grandchildren was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, Cancellieri and her husband, Tony, worked with their children and local leaders to found RVC Blue Speaks. The organization runs fundraisers to raise money for Autism Speaks and its local Long Island Chapter. The organization started in August and has already raised over $15,000 through community fundraising events, including a Jones Beach Walk and a Guest Bartending Night.