Autism Projects in Memory of Liz Birt
Liz dedicated a large part of her life to expanding services,
treatments, and research for people with autism. The list below is
comprised of projects in which Liz had a special interest and which
reflect her priorities in the field of autism. All donations are being
made to 501 c 3 non-profit organizations and are fully tax deductible.
100% of all donations will be applied to the described programs.
1. Truth & Love Fund, Thoughtful House
Liz was an advisor to Thoughtful House and helped
establish their non-profit status. Her son Matthew was treated by
several of the doctors there. Thoughtful House provides clinical care
for people with autism and conducts research on the causes and
treatments of autism, in order to facilitate recovery. More information
about this unique center is available at www.thoughtfulhouse.org.
The Truth & Love Fund was established by Thoughtful House to
provide free or low cost clinical services to families with financial
need. This concept had been discussed by Liz with Thoughtful House
directors, and now Thoughtful House would like to put Liz’s wish into
Donations should be designated for the “Truth & Love Fund” and can
be sent to:
Thoughtful House Center for Children
Attention: Anissa Ryland, Director of Operations
3001 Bee Caves Road
Austin, TX 78746
Telephone : 512-732-8400x 222
2. Camp Scholarships, Extreme Sports Camp
Liz was a co-founder and board member of Extreme Sports
Camp, and she volunteered as a counselor. Based in Aspen, Colorado, the
camp offers sports and recreation in the summer for older children and
teenagers with autism. The camp program consists of hiking, water
skiing, swimming, rock climbing, rafting, and other sports with
one-on-one support. More information about the camp is available at www.extremesportscamp.org or by calling 970 920-3695.
Donations would support the camp’s scholarship program, which ensures
that any child can attend camp regardless of need. Donations can be
Extreme Sports Camp, Inc.
P. O. Box 10729
Aspen, CO 81612
3. Helping Hand Program, National Autism Association
Liz was a board member of the National Autism
Association. NAA provides advocacy and education for families with
autism and supports biomedical research on autism. NAA has an emergency
fund for families in dire financial crisis called the Helping Hand
Program. Priority is given to single parents. The fund provides grants
of up to $1,500 per family for critical needs such as biomedical
treatments, supplements, and therapy services for their autistic child,
as well as basic living expenses.
Liz was instrumental in establishing this fund as part of her work on
the NAA board. More information about NAA is available at www.nationalautismassociation.org. More
information about the Helping Hand Program is available at www.nationalautismassociation.org/helpinghand.php.
Donations for this effort should be designated for the “Helping Hand
Program” and can be sent to:
National Autism Association
1330 W. Schatz Lane
Nixa, MO 65714
4. Liz Birt “Go for
the Gold” Mouse Model, SafeMinds
Liz was a co-founder and board member of SafeMinds, a
parent advocacy organization dedicated to expanding research on the
role of mercury from vaccines and other sources as a cause of autism.
One of the researchers which SafeMinds is funding is Dr. Mady Hornig of
Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Hornig has
created a mouse model for autism using exposure to the mercury
preservative thimerosal found in infant vaccines. Expanding this
research, she is developing a treatment protocol using gold salts which
she will administer to these genetically susceptible mice to determine
if the treatment might improve their behavior and brain function and if
there are side effects. Gold tightly binds mercury and there are
anecdotal reports of gold salts being effective in improving autism
outcomes. Gold salts (chrysotherapy) were also used for many years for
the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
This project has been aptly named “Go for the Gold.” Dr. Hornig was
inspired to undertake this research when she learned of Liz’s death.
More information about SafeMinds and the research it funds is available
at www.safeminds.org or by calling 404 932-1786.
Donations should be designated for the “Go for the Gold Project” and
can be sent to -
254 Trickum Creek Road
Tyrone, GA 30290
5. Investigation of GI Disorder in Autism, Steve Walker,
Liz strongly believed that there was a link between onset
of gastrointestinal problems and her son Matthew’s regression into
autism. Liz actively raised funds for research on this issue, and the
involvement of GI disorder in autism is now acknowledged among
An important study on GI disorder and autism which Liz supported is
being conducted by Steve Walker of the Wake Forest University School of
Medicine in Winston-Salem. Dr. Walker is examining intestinal tissue
samples of 300 children who presented with regressive autism and
chronic GI symptoms, to correlate viral gene expression with clinical
outcomes. This research has implications for medical treatment as well
as identifying factors contributing to autism.
Donations for this research would allow Dr. Walker to complete his
analysis of all 300 children for which he has medical histories and
biopsies. Questions about this research can be directed to Laura Bono
of the National Autism Association, which is collecting funds for this
effort. The phone number is 877-622-2884.
Donations should be designated for “Steve Walker GI-Autism Research”
and should be sent to -
National Autism Association
1330 W. Schatz Lane
Nixa, MO 65714
6. Pro-Bono Legal Services
Liz was an attorney and a strong believer in
volunteerism. She was involved in a number of pro-bono legal activities
that advanced the cause of autism. Among these were efforts to increase
transparency and accountability at key federal agencies around vaccine
safety. Her legal activities were most recently centered on A-CHAMP, a
non-partisan organization formed by parents to advance public policy
issues affecting children with neurodevelopmental and communication
disorders. Liz was a co-founder and board member. Information on
A-CHAMP is available at www.a-champ.org.
A-CHAMP needs volunteers to help them with their efforts around
political advocacy. Especially needed are those with a legal
background, although dedicated people with any skill are welcome.
Those interested in helping protect the rights of individuals with
autism can call Bobbie Manning, Director, A-CHAMP, at 716 713-6625 or
by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.