The video of Katy Perry's duet with Jodi DiPiazza has been making the rounds online, yet a lot of people probably don't realize the significance of the duet.
We're all guilty of "liking" or hitting the "retweet" button without reading or looking at what it is we're essentially endorsing or promoting online. [insert incessant sheep noises here] So, let's have a bit of background, shall we?
11-year-old Jodi DiPiazza was diagnosed with autism when she was just two-years-old. For anyone who has a family member or friend that has been diagnosed as being somewhere on the autism spectrum, you know how difficult, frustrating, and heartbreaking it can be. Likewise, watching the difference that Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and other forms of therapy with autistic children can be so incredibly inspiring, and gives other families hope.
Jodi is one of the very lucky children who has benefited from various forms of therapy that are offered through quality autistic programs, the very same that Jon Stewart and Comedy Central aim to help raise money for through their Night of Too Many Stars event.
The "Night of Too Many Stars" benefits programs across the United States in support of individuals with autism that are in desperate need quality services. In 2010 the event gave more than $3.1 million in grants to 41 programs in 13 states, and this year's show which aired on Sunday, 21 October has raised $3,718,613.
In a Night of Too Many Stars, before Katy and Jodi perform "Firework" together, we're shown video footage of Jodi when she was younger, with her parents explaining her diagnosis, and how they thought the dreams they once had for their daughter had been squashed by her autism. We're shown just a very small but raw glimpse into what thousands and thousands of parents of autistic children go through, through Jodi's parents experiences.
But then, we're shown how much Jodi has progressed, thanks to the programs and therapy she's had access to, and how much music and singing has been a part of her success. And what better way to show just how far she has come than to have her on stage playing piano and harmonizing with her idol, Katy Perry?
This is basically the perfect example of what a huge difference having access to quality programs for autistic children makes.
I absolutely love what Jon Stewart and all of the celebrities involved are doing for autism. It affects so many people, so many families, and there are not nearly enough affordable and quality programs to help. Now, if only the UK would do something similar...