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Houston Autism Lunch Builds on a Nonprofit’s $1.8 Million Mission, Reveals Plenty of Local Heroes

Fighting for People on the Spectrum

BY // 04.15.21
photography Quy Tran

What: KNOWAutism Foundation seventh annual “As I Am” luncheon

Where: The Junior League of Houston

PC Moment: There were many highlights to the luncheon that honored Sippi and Ajay Khurana as KNOWAutism Heroes, Renee and Alan Helfman as Corporate Heroes, Reagan and Alex Bregman as Community Heroes, and Dr. Renee Rodriguez D’Souza as Frontline Hero.

With board chair Amy Pierce serving as emcee, the program included a video on Tammy Tran Nguyen and Wayne Nguyen, whose son’s diagnosis with autism led them to found the nonprofit which in seven years has contributed more than $1.8 million in support of children on the autism spectrum and their families. Musical presentations were made by the Nguyen’s daughter, Julia, on piano with songbird Angela Nichols and with Haan and Seva Khurana, talented children of the hero honorees.

Guest speaker Marcel Primes gave a tearful account of  the challenges and joys associated with raising a son with autism while board member Perri Palermo discussed her struggles with  raising an autistic child as a single mother. Both praised the foundation for the resources it provides to families with an autistic child.

Applause, applause for luncheon chairs Dr. Ayesha Rashid of Clear Creek Psychiatry and Yoon Smith, store director for Fabergé in The Galleria, for the event that raised $280,000.

Elizabeth Anthony

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PC Seen: Rob Pierce, Kendall Pierce, Ayesha Rashid, Sherri Zucker, Brigitte Kalai, Tracy Faulkner, Betty Tutor, Elsie Eckert, Elaine Finger, Miya Shay, Corbette Daniel Parker, Alice Mao, Linda and Thomas Ling, Linda and Ted Wu, Luis and Brittany Orbegoso, Paige Thompson, and Dr. Sadaf Javaid. 

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