Chi-town Girl Jenny McCarthy Hosts Annual Autism Fundraiser

I hit this year's Rescue Our Angels fundraiser again, where Chi-town girl, former MTV personality Jenny McCarthy hosted the fifth-annual event, which featured a cocktail party and silent auction, at Billy Dec’s Rockit Bar & Grill in River North.

Proceeds from the event go toward helping children with autism get  treatment they may not otherwise be able to afford. Last year’s event, held at the Grossinger Autoplex, raised $85,000. Festivities at the Rockit, made for a tighter, more intimate setting than the previous year's soiree at the sprawling car dealership.

Marisa Buchheit (Miss Chicago 2012), Keeley Sawyer (Miss Teen Chicago 2012), and Mattie Mozella (Miss Chicago’s Outstanding Preteen 2012) each crashed the party to lend their support and increase awareness. The ladies posed for pictures with patrons and helped to sell raffle tickets to the admiring crowd.

Rescue Our Angels was founded in 2008 by Michele and Peter Doyle in honor of their daughter Caelan, who was stricken with autism, a developmental disorder that usually occurs in the first few years of life. The disorder is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, as well as by restricted, repetitive behavior. Fortunately for the Doyles, their little girl, now 10, has achieved great strides.

Speaking from the stage, alongside her husband, Michele doted that Caelan was now performing commercials and giving entire oral presentations for the organization. "She’s awesome!" Michele gushed.

Several members of Caelan’s family, including her younger sister, and many of her former grade-school teachers were present to celebrate her accomplishments.

Although the exact number of children with autism is unknown, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 88 children has autism—over 60 percent of them boys. This rate has risen 23 percent since 2006 and 78 percent since 2002.

Unlike actor John Travolta, who has remained mum about his late son Jett's autism, McCarthy has lent her celebrity tirelessly to the cause. There are numerous stories online and in print, where McCarthy has spoken forthcoming about the struggles and triumphs of her son, Evan, who was diagnosed with autism in 2005. McCarthy is currently dating Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

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    If there was ever a chance of me being able to take her seriously as a self professed autism expert, well, it's gone. Is anyone going to be able to take her seriously now? What are they gonna ask her at autism awareness events now? Autism expert and playboy playmate just don't work well together. I talk about it more here: http://www.themommypsychologist.com/2012/05/19/can-you-guess-which-autism-expert-is-posing-for-playboy/

  • In reply to Heather Harrison:

    Hi Heather,

    I understand your point. Thank you for your comment and for sharing your link.

    The word "expert" is a curious term for some people because what does it really mean.

    It can mean you've reached an echelon of knowledge (as a doctor has through intensive study and practice). Or it can simply mean you've immersed in something long enough to become knowledgeable. I think Jenny may fall under the latter definition.

    She may not be THE authority on the subject of autism, but I'm sure she's learned enough from going through the trials and tribulations with her son and researching her options that she can speak viably on the subject.

    What I respect her for is giving her celebrity to a cause that she is genuinely passionate about so that she can raise more awareness, which in turn helps people (many of who may be her fans) who are struggling with the disorder to know where to turn.

    Yes, I have my opinions on the disservice she's done herself by posing nude: because then people don't want to or can't take her seriously. At the same time, how long does her checkered past get held over her head?

    Becoming a mom has obviously changed her priorities, not to mention grown her as a human being. We all have things in our own pasts that should have mustered in us better judgment before undertaking.

    Overall, though, the awareness she's given to the cause outweighs her Playmate past. She’s done a bang-up job, even if her role serves only to turn you toward someone who is, indeed, an "expert" under the former definition.

  • fb_avatar

    Cindy,

    I'd like to thank you for writing such an incredible article highlighting our annual event. All the press and publicity helps raise awareness and needed funds to help families get on the path to recovery. It overjoys me that you took the time to understand why our event was created and all the hard work that goes into making it happen. You took the most relevant photos and published so many of them. This event has become one of my babies and I cherish it and you covered it perfectly. As I have already told you, you will be the first to be asked back as we grow bigger next year.

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    I am internationally published, award-winning journalist who has worked in just about every facet of media from TV and film to magazines, promotional materials, newspapers, and books. I currently work as a media consultant, which (in addition to coaching executives in Corporate America) also includes writing and shooting photography for PR and journalistic publication. I have covered entertainment, specifically, since the 1990s, as well as performed as an actor and singer in TV commercials and industrial film, and studied arts, fashion and pop-culture history. My writing has published in such publications as the Chicago Tribune, Us Weekly, Reader’s Digest, Vibe and Circus magazines. My photography has appeared in People, the Daily Beast, OK!, Self, Life and Style, Glamour, and on E!, Wendy Williams Show, and Oxygen, to name a few. I've interviewed celebrities as diverse as Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Kiss, STP, Dio, Kanye West, and Presidents Clinton and Obama. In between blogging for Chicago Now, I also founded my own successful entertainment blog ChicaHollywood.com and have also blogged for VH1. As a kid I once danced on the shows Soul Train and Hangin' with MTV. I have three graduate degrees in communications and continue to further my academic education. (Hopefully, I will finish my PhD this decade!) With this blog, I look forward to making you think and to ask questions. But most importantly I aspire to make you smile. Because hopefully as I do with myself, I do not take those wacky celebrities that seriously.... Kim Kardashian for President! Lindsay Lohan for V.P.

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