Ambassador of the Week
Each week of April, we will be highlighting an “Ambassador of the Week” for their exceptional work in raising awareness and building acceptance. Read Chris's story:
Week 4: April 28th through May 5th
Chris McCabe, Ocean County, NJ
Being a dad is sometimes all the motivation you need to make the world a better place for your children. Chris McCabe’s “better place” embraces individuals with autism. His mission to raise awareness and create understanding of this disorder is inspired by his daughter.
A little about Chris:
I lived in Hunterdon County most of my life until I moved to Ocean County in 2008. My wife, Mayor of Barnegat, Susan and I have formed an amazing blended family consisting of my two step children, Kyle and Kaitlin, who are both 18. Kyle attends the Philadelphia School of Art and Kaitlin attends Penn State. My 7-year old daughter, also named Kaitlyn, was diagnosed with autism in 2013 at the age of 5. Since then it has become our families promise to raise awareness about autism and bring the community together through The Drive for Autism Foundation. Our foundation is a private charitable organization established to raise funds and distribute them to schools and nonprofit groups committed to the education and treatment of individuals diagnosed with autism.
What inspires Chris to spread autism awareness?
My youngest daughter Kaitlyn drives my passion for spreading autism awareness. Kaitlyn loves playing dress up, coloring and is learning to paint her nails by herself. She enjoys reading and spending time near the water, going to the beach and walking on the boardwalk. Going out on the boat has become one of our favorite things to do together. Kaitlyn’s diagnosis launched me into starting the Drive for Autism Foundation, which is the perfect platform to share our story and build acceptance.
Chris is spreading awareness by:
The Drive for Autism Foundation hosts a few events throughout the year in order to raise money for autism awareness. This year, I held the 1st Inaugural “Drive for Autism.” The idea for my event came from my car club, Jersey Shore Exotics. Through my connection to the autism community and car enthusiasts, we geared the event to anyone with a passion for vehicles and the desire to help support autism awareness. Any and all cars, trucks or motorcycles were welcomed.
The event, held on April 12, included a drive through the beautiful New Jersey Pine Barrens in Manahawkin and ended at Bar A in Belmar where there was an all-you-can-eat BBQ and opportunity for participants to connect with one another and share why participating in this event was important to them. We are excited to announce that this year’s event raised $3,000 for Autism New Jersey. You can learn more about Drive for Autism on our Facebook page.
Autism New Jersey is celebrating its 50th year. Chris would use these three words to describe us:
Caring • Selfless • Dedicated
Click here to see other Ambassadors highlighted this year.