Leading the Fight Against Autism
Image by Tom Wolfe
Doug Flutie, star quarterback for the San Diego Chargers, has taken the authority and competitive drive that he displays on the field and used them in a very personal fight. Five years ago, Flutie, 38, and his wife, Laurie -- parents to Alexa, now 12, and Doug Jr., 8 -- found out that their young son had autism, a neurological disorder that affects a child's ability to communicate and reason. Instead of keeping their anguish to themselves, the Fluties established the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism.
The foundation offers financial and emotional support to families affected by autism, funds research and education, and provides a clearinghouse for information. "Starting the foundation was a way of giving Dougie a legacy of his own," explains Flutie, "and it's his way of making a contribution to society."
Fans admire Flutie's devotion and his positive attitude. "We take things one day at a time with Dougie," the football player says. "We treat him like we treat our daughter -- like a normal child."
For more information, go to www.dougflutiejrfoundation.org.