NY Senate Honors 18 Year Old’s Autism Fundraising Efforts
John Rigazio & Team Talisen recognized for fundraising over $40k for Autism during 100-mile bike ride
ALBANY, NY (March 28th, 2017)- The NY Senate presented a proclamation to John Rigazio for his unique contribution to Team Talisen’s fundraising efforts during the 2016 Bike to the Beach, a 100-mile bike ride that benefits Autism Speaks and other local Autism community groups throughout New York.
John, a senior at South Side High School in Rockville Centre, rode 100 miles from Manhattan to Westhampton last June on a tandem bicycle with his father, Joseph. In joint effort with 24 others on his ride team, Team Talisen, John helped raise over $40,000 for the cause. Luckily for them, the Bike to the Beach route passed right through Rockville Centre on the way to Westhampton, where they received support from John’s friends and teachers. John says, “Seeing everyone from school was great. We trained a lot for the ride and I had fun doing it together with my dad. Next year we want a lot more people, 50 riders and $50,000”.
Joseph first got involved with the Autism awareness movement when John was diagnosed with ASD at the age of 6. As the CEO of Talisen Construction Corporation, Joseph spearheaded the company’s involvement with Autism Speaks in 2009. After years on the NYC Walk Committee for Autism Speaks, Joseph focused Talisen’s 2016 efforts on Bike to the Beach, “I’ve always backed organizations that support Autism awareness and research. Bike to the Beach was a great opportunity to make a real difference and get John inspired to advocate for the cause. It boosted his confidence level so much and reinforced his ability to make a difference regardless of his personal challenges. John’s acknowledgment by Senator Kaminsky was yet another affirmation, and an extremely proud moment for me as a father. We can’t wait for next year!”.
Senator Todd Kaminsky of District 9 heard of John’s efforts through a local contact at South Side High School. After hearing the story and seeing pictures from the ride he immediately called up the Rigazio household to offer his congratulations. Kaminsky offered John a formal Proclamation, “a non-legal declaration designating a given period of time to commemorate an event or cause, or to honor an individual or group”*. The proclamation was then recognized by all other members of Senate in Albany on March 28th.
Currently, 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United States every year. More than 3.5 million Americans are on the spectrum yet ASD receives the least federal funding of any developmental disorder. Organizations like Bike to the Beach help to fill that gap by not only supporting Autism Speaks but channeling money back into local organizations that provide summer camps, after-school programs, and job training/support for those with ASD. Robby Walsh, Executive Director, of Bike to the Beach says, “ROBBY WALSH QUOTE”. Bike to the Beach now holds cycling events in 7 cities, including New York, Baltimore, Washington DC, Miami, Houston, and Boston.
About Bike to the Beach & Team Talisen
Bike to the Beach is a community of people who combine biking, purpose, and fun to inspire individuals to overcome obstacles through personal challenge and to inspire the larger community to raise funds and awareness for Autism, the most prevalent developmental disability in the world.
Talisen Construction formed Team Talisen in 2016 to ride in the annual Bike to the Beach. With the initial goal of fundraising $25,000 with a team of 10 riders, they far exceeded their 2016 goal by raising over $40,000. This year they are aiming for 50 riders and $50,000. Learn more about the event, and Team Talisen, by visiting their team page.