Chicago goes blue for autism

When dusk falls April 2, the night sky will be awash in the glow of thousands of soft blue lights thanks to the efforts of some of the biggest names in Chicago.

From Willis, Trump and Hilton towers to the Palmer House, Smurfit-Stone Building, Soldier Field and House of Blues, businesses around the city are Lighting it Up Blue in support of World Autism Day.

It was a request from the tiny national of Qatar to the United Nations that put World Autism Awareness Day on the calendar. A resolution drafted by the U.N. and approved by every member state was adopted in 2007 that calls for: Establishing April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day participation of U.N organizations, member states non-government organizations as well as private and public entities in WAAD raising awareness of autism at all levels of society annual delivery of the message to all member states and related organizations.

WAAD is celebrated around the globe with a cascade of blue lights on some of the world’s most recognizable buildings, including the Empire State Building in New York City, the CN Tower in Toronto and Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia.

In Chicago, more than 300 buildings are participating, including Soldier Field, John Hancock, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the Wrigley Building.

Lou Melgarejo, chairman of Chicago’s Light it Up Blue event, is hoping residents also will opt in to the global party, lighting their homes up blue, too.

“Home Depot and Philips are helping to shine a light on autism,” Malgarejo says. “Philips supplies three different blue lightbulbs, which you can find at your local Home Depot and online. A portion of the sale of each light bulb goes toward Autism Speaks.”

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