Melissa and Bryan Harkins, Chairs of Wall Street Rides FAR, to Receive the 2019 Caryn Schwartzman Spirit Award
NEW YORK, NY (February 15, 2019) – The Autism Science Foundation (ASF), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting and funding innovative autism research, today announced that Bryan and Melissa Harkins will receive this year’s Caryn Schwartzman Spirit Award. The Harkins are the founders and chairs of the Wall Street Rides FAR bicycling event, which has raised over $1 million for autism research over the past 4 years. The award, which recognizes excellence in autism research advocacy, will be presented at the sixth annual “Day of Learning” event, ASF’s science conference for the autism community, on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, in New York City. The fifth annual Ride FAR will be held on October 5, 2019, at Saxon Woods Park in White Plains, NY.
The Caryn Schwartzman Spirit Award is presented annually to family advocates whose energy, tenacity, and commitment to enhancing the lives of individuals with autism best emulate Caryn’s. Caryn was a loving and dedicated mom, and a tireless advocate who worked with the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR), Autism Speaks, and the Autism Science Foundation to raise money, advance autism research, and improve the lives of children around the country.
“My mom would have loved Wall Street Rides FAR because it’s a great way for families to participate in a fun outdoor activity together while raising money for autism research,” said Allyson Schwartzman, 25, daughter of Caryn Schwartzman and sister to twin brother Robby, who is diagnosed with autism. “My mom chaired the WALK FAR for NAAR so she knows exactly how much work and how much love Bryan and Melissa put into organizing this event year after year.”
“We are proud to honor Melissa and Bryan for their hard work and unwavering commitment to autism research,” said Alison Singer, president and co-founder of the Autism Science Foundation. “They conceived of this event and developed it into a major annual fundraiser, as well as a day our families look forward to every year.”
Bryan Harkins is the Executive Vice President and Co-Head of U.S. Markets at Cboe Global Markets, one of the largest stock exchange operators in the world. Melissa Harkins spent nearly 10 years in equities trading on Wall Street before becoming an entrepreneur and founding MooMotion, a women’s cycling and triathlon apparel company that combines her love of endurance sports and design. The Harkins have several extended family members diagnosed with autism.
Bryan and Melissa’s vision was to create an event that would bring the Wall Street and autism communities together for a unique, fun and family friendly fitness challenge that would provide resources to a cause they feel strongly about. They would like to thank the Wall Street community for its enormous support and generosity towards the Wall Street Rides FAR event.
The Caryn Schwartzman Spirit Award will be presented at the Autism Science Foundation’s “Day of Learning” event on Wednesday, March 27, which will feature TED-style talks by the nation’s top autism scientists, including NIMH Chair Dr. Josh Gordon. Participants will discuss the latest developments in autism research, treatment and services to an audience including parents, students, individuals with autism, and other autism community stakeholders.
Tickets for the “Day of Learning,” which includes breakfast, lunch, and a dessert buffet, are available online. Proceeds from the conference will benefit the foundation’s pre- and post- doctoral autism fellowship programs, which support early-career research conducted by the nation’s most promising young autism scientists.
About the Autism Science Foundation
The Autism Science Foundation (ASF) is a 501(c) (3) public charity. Its mission is to support autism research by providing funding to scientists and organizations conducting autism research. ASF also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism. To learn more about the Autism Science Foundation or to make a donation visit www.autismsciencefoundation.org.
# # #