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    Casey's, Hy-Vee Taking Part in Autism Awareness Month

    Awareness and fundraising initiatives will benefit the Autism Speaks organization.

    NEW YORK -- Casey's General Stores and Hy-Vee are taking part in the series of awareness and fundraising initiatives planned by Autism Speaks -- the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization -- to celebrate Autism Awareness Month in April.

    "We are very fortunate to have this remarkable group of partners who share our passion for making life better for individuals with autism and their families," Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks, said in a statement. "Our thanks go to the leadership of these companies, but also to their employees who invest so much time and bring tremendous enthusiasm to the cause of autism advocacy."

    For the first time, Casey's General Stores will sell puzzle pieces for $1 at its more than 1,500 convenience stores in nine Midwestern states to benefit Autism Speaks.

    Meanwhile, throughout the month of April, Hy-Vee stores will distribute more than three million plastic grocery bags adorned with the Autism Speaks logo and awareness facts. Hy-Vee is also a sponsor of the Iowa Walk Now for Autism Speaks on June 19. During the week of April 19-25, a percentage of the chain's sales will be donated to the event.

    Since its inception five years ago, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing more than $142.5 million to research and developing innovative new resources for families through 2014. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks supports the Autism Treatment Network, Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and other scientific and clinical programs.

    Autism is a neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and often is accompanied by behavioral challenges.

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