Managing Editor's Note: Our sponsor TACA ran a full color insert in the OC Register for autism action month. Here is the second article. You can see a .pdf of the insert HERE. Check out the ad for the Oakley/TACA sunglasses on our right sidebar. Great gift for Mother's and Father's day!
By Lois Evezich
“Imagine you’re in a crowded room, and you can hear everything around you at the same time,” says Patrick McIlvain. “Cars driving by, conversations on the other side of the room, the clatter of plates or glasses, music in the background.”
All are distractions to an autistic child.
“Trying to carry on a conversation is often too much for autistic children to handle,” McIlvain says. “They actually cover their ears in frustration,” he says. “There’s no filter.” This issue is just one of many affecting those with autism that keeps them more in their world and less in ours.
McIlvain is vice president of global sports marketing at Oakley, Inc. He and his wife, Stephanie, have a 10-year-old son who is autistic.
“We hit bottom when we first heard the diagnosis when my son was a year and a half,” McIlvain says. “We were spinning, trying different things, and scouring the Internet for help. “Then we found ‘Talk About Curing Autism,’ a support group for families with an autistic child. TACA gave us direction. We were wandering through the wilderness, and now there’s a path.”
McIlvain got involved and is now on TACA’s board of directors.
“These children can be recovered,” McIlvain says. “The team at TACA is dedicated to that.”
Last month, Oakley announced its partnership with the launch of special edition TACA sunglasses which come in both a women’s style and a men’s style and feature a customized “puzzle” piece logo – often associated with autism awareness. Each sale of these special sunglasses means $20 from Oakley and its customers directly support families affected by autism.
Oakley may be best known for its sunglasses, but the company’s passion for innovation and constant improvement is channeled into its community outreach efforts to help those who defy their own limits. The company has many strong partnerships with non-profit organizations including, One Sight, the Young Survival Coalition for Breast Cancer and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, to which it has contributed over $4 million.
Oakley’s support of TACA began long before the launch of this collection. The company has been sponsoring their annual “Ante Up for Autism” Gala for several years.
Oakley also donates in other ways to TACA’s efforts. They also involve employees in direct services at family events. Last year, employees began volunteering with TACA at their annual picnic for families with autistic children. Volunteers served food, supervised rides, and helped with activities and cleanup.
The company’s athletes are also encouraged to support and participate in many of the events Oakley supports. Many have donated their time and show up to events to lend their support for TACA.
“I’m really proud of how Oakley gives back and supports the community,” said McIlvain. “We are really hands on. It’s good for our brand, our employees, and our athletes to be connected to these great philanthropic efforts.”
“We hope that we can inspire other companies that they can use their business expertise to make a difference in the community.”
Oakley partnership with Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) is a double win. As a major supporter of the nonprofit, Oakley’s contributions continue to offer opportunities for further support of TACA families.
“The puzzle piece for autism is like putting the child back together,” he says. “That’s the goal. Oakley wants to support TACA in helping families put the pieces together to make their child whole again.”