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Autism Speaks Young Professionals Gala

February 5, 2013

From Business Insider:

Hundreds of young professionals, including a bunch of Wall Street traders and a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, partied last night at a swanky rooftop hotel in downtown Manhattan.

It was all for charity, though.

Autism Speaks to Young Professionals (AS2YP) hosted one of its popular charity galas at Ph-D at the Dream Hotel. 

With tickets starting at $100, guests imbibed cocktails, enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and listened to a DJ, while raising funds and awareness for autism — a disorder that affects one in every 88 children.

We checked out the event last night and have included highlights in the slides that follow.

We also ran into a bunch of floor traders at the event. For many of them, autism hits really close to home. 

"They're a supportive group. I have a child with autism and I really don't have to ask twice. People come out to support us," Danny Ryan, AS2YP co-chair and NYSE senior floor official told Business Insider.

The NYSE traders have a reputation for supporting each other through challenging times.

Ryan told us that just last month when a NYSE floor trader was badly injured in the ferry boat accident in the Financial District, they held a small event to raise some money. Even traders who haven't been on the floor in a decade came down to contribute. 

"It's a family. Guys really, really do feel like we take care of our own. As a father of a child with autism, it's very comforting knowing that when you're going through this battle you're trying to do things to help others. These guys will always have your back. I'm very lucky."

While AS2YP events are a way for young professionals to get involved in charity early on and raise funds, it's much more about educating the next generation of parents.

"I'm a parent of a nine-year-old son with autism," committee member Phil Quartuccio, managing member of Illustro Trading said. "It's absolutely not about fundraising at this level, it's awareness."