Sunday, November 2, 2014

Carolina Panthers

Autism Light #362 is the Carolina Panthers. 

The Carolina Panthers are a football team in the National Football League located in Charlotte, North Carolina. They were organized on October 26, 1993 as an expansion team in the NFL.  The Carolina Panthers are an Autism Light because of their compassion towards people with autism. The Carolina Panthers are the first NFL team to be named an Autism Light and will be placed today on the Autism Light Sports page.

The Carolina Panthers played their first season in 1995. They reached Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and lost to the New England Patriots. At the time it was the most watched Super Bowl in history. The Carolina Panthers have many fans in the Carolina area and around the country, but two of their biggest fans have autism and the team has reached out to them.

Alphonzo "Fonz" McDonald:   Alphonzo is a 15 year old boy who has autism. He is such a big fan of the Carolina Panthers that his room is decorated in blue and black.  When asked what his sports dream would be, Fonz said, "I want to play wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers (, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers Make Dream Come True for Young Autistic Fan)!" 

On Saturday, October 25, 2014, Fonz got the opportunity to play wide receiver at a Carolina Panthers practice. He was then given a tailgate party, pregame field passes, and tickets for the game on October 26 when Carolina played the Seattle Seahawks. The Arc of North Carolina helped make the connection between Fonz and the Carolina Panthers. 

Here is a video of radio coverage of this special moment for a boy with autism.

Carolina Panthers Help Dream Come True for Autistic Boy from HIS Radio on Vimeo.

The following is a tweet on Twitter about Alphonzo McDonald meeting the Carolina Panthers. Fonz is the happy young man wearing the blue jersey.

Dave: .Dave is a young adult with autism. He is also known as Brother Dave. He is a huge Carolina Panthers fan. You can see a YouTube video where he reviews a game Carolina played against Green Bay in 2011. In 2011 the team gave Dave a signed football and tickets to a game. Here is a video of Dave receiving the gifts on behalf of the Carolina Panthers organization.

Light It Up Blue: In addition to their concern for individuals with autism the Carolina Panthers participated in a visible way in the community as the Bank of America Stadium where they play was displayed in blue lights for Autism Awareness Month in April, 2014.

Social Media:  To follow the Carolina Panthers on social media visit these pages.
For more information on the Carolina Panthers visit these links:
Special thanks to the Carolina Panthers for shining a light on the cause autism through their autism awareness efforts.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

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