During Autism Awareness Month in April, the nonprofit FRAXA Research Foundation and shoelace company U-Lace established a new partnership to help fund research for the treatment and cure of fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause of autism.
The partnership will begin with special marketing programs and the development of custom, FRAXA co-branded U-Laces, which will be sold on both websites (FRAXA.org and U-Lace.com) with a minimum of 20 percent of sales supporting FRAXA’s research efforts.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with U-Lace. While we get closer to finding effective treatments for fragile X, we are always on the lookout for ways to make our children’s lives easier and happier,” Katie Clapp, president and co-founder of U-Lace who was inspired by her son, Andy, who was diagnosed with fragile X, said in a press release.
“U-Lace has been open to all ideas and is committed to being a part of finding a cure for autism, so we are grateful they are now committed to the fragile X community,” she said.
U-Lace was featured on the TV show “Shark Tank,” where small entrepreneurs seek investment funds from one of the “sharks.” In 2014, U-Lace got the attention of Mark Cuban, who helped them grow into the successful business they are today.
U-Lace has sold over 12 million sets of its no-tie laces worldwide. The shoelaces were adopted by many in the autism community because of their sensory-conscious products.
“I wish we were smart enough to have known how much of a life-changing product U-Lace would be in the autism community,” said Tim Talley, co-founder and CEO of U-Lace. “The autism community found us and began telling us how much they loved the product. Kids slip on sneakers easily and fit in with their friends wearing real laces, not Velcro or plastic.
“Some of the notes we’ve received are true tearjerkers,” he added. “We simply embraced the community and continued to ask how can we help more, and how can we make the product better for these incredible kids? FRAXA was an obvious choice for all the work they do.”
The nonprofit FRAXA has funded more than $27 million in biomedical research to date, achieving significant discoveries in the process that have impacted the fragile X community. Their volunteer scientific advisory board includes three Nobel laureates.
One of FRAXA’s most important services is informing the community about ongoing clinical trials and studies that are recruiting participants.