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Ted Lindsay, a sports legend and Detroit Red Wing hero nicknamed “Terrible Ted”, played 14 seasons on four Stanley Cup teams and was known as one of the most competitive, tough, and talented players in hockey history. The pugnacious Hockey Hall of Famer, who led the creation of the original NHL Player’s Association, was often quoted as saying, “I believe in a good fight”.

Ted carried that same passion to impact autism in 2001, when his friend, John Czarnecki ‘s son, Dominic, was diagnosed with autism at two-years old. Ted asked what he could do to help, and soon, the Ted Lindsay Foundation was created with the mission to support research and educational programs focusing on the cause and management of autism spectrum disorder.

Ted’s influence and leadership in the autism community also established his legacy as a champion for children and families.

When the Ted Lindsay Foundation began, it was believed that one in 166 children were affected with autism. Today, it is estimated that one in 59 children (one in 37 boys) have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder. Ted always said, It is not just the child that has autism, but the whole family. It is not a one person thing.”

Although Ted passed away in March of 2019, his wish was to have his work continue through his foundation. It is our privilege to have former Red Wing Joe Kocur and Red Wing star, Dylan Larkin, serve as co-spokespersons for the Ted Lindsay Foundation. Ted said they are tremendous additions to the Foundation and will play important roles for years to come.

From its inception through 2020, The Ted Lindsay Foundation has raised over 5 million dollars. Operating expenses consume only 12% of revenue raised, leaving 88% available to support autism research and educational programs.

On November 27, 2018, Ted and the Foundation were proud to present a pledge of $1 million to the Oakland University Center for Autism Outreach Services (OUCARES) to aid in the teenage and adult autism programs in the community.  OUCARES changed its’ name to the Joanne and Ted Lindsay Autism Outreach Services at Oakland University. This $1 million gift provides pre-employment training and social programs for teens and adults impacted by ASD. It will also help to enhance programs for parents and caregivers, provide scholarships, and make the programs more available to those who might otherwise not have been able to participate.

In 2015, a $1 million gift to Beaumont Health named the Ted Lindsay Foundation HOPE Center at Beaumont Children’s. The program continues to provide high-quality, effective behavioral intervention and Hands-On Parent Education (HOPE) to families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disorders. The center offers evidence based developmentally appropriate therapy for children to address challenges in social communication, play and learning.

With funding over the past years from the Foundation, the research team, lead by Dr. Laura Hewitson, Research Director of the Johnson Center for Child Health and Development in Austin Texas, has completed their largest ASD biomarker study to date, with the screening of over 1300 proteins in 200 blood samples from children with and without ASD. From this study, they have identified a panel of eight potential markers that appear to be associated with autism. They are now in the validation stage to confirm that these markers are indeed specific to autism. This approach will not only provide important insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in the etiology of ASD, but also allow them to potentially develop targeted treatments for the core symptoms. Identifying biomarkers to ascertain autism risk in newborns and young children would enable early intervention strategies to be implemented at a young age, which is more likely to lead to improved outcomes. (Please read Dr. Laura Hewitson’s research update on the website.)

A partial list of programs supported by the Ted Lindsay Foundation include; FAR Therapeutic Arts and Recreation, The Healing Haven-Linking Hands and Hearts, The Courage Awards, Venetian’s Club’s Halloween Party, The Johnson Center, Dutton Farms, For The Kids Foundation, and Life Lab Kids.

On November 6, 2019, at the 28th National Philanthropy Day celebration, the Ted Lindsay Foundation received the prestigious “Outstanding Foundation Award” for 2019, from the Greater Detroit Chapter of Association of Fundraising Professionals. The award is presented to private foundations that “demonstrate outstanding commitment through financial support and through encouragement and motivation to others to take leadership roles in philanthropy and community involvement.”

With your help, we will do our best to fulfill Ted’s wishes to continue supporting the autism educational programs in our community and to help find the cause, for this increasingly pervasive disability.


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