Home > Fundraising > The Face Behind ‘Every Piece Counts’

The Face Behind ‘Every Piece Counts’

Kaitlin Reilly, resident of Allendale, N.J. and Junior at Northern Highlands Regional High School, will be completing the ‘World’s Largest Jigsaw Puzzle’ (24,000 pieces and 126 sq. ft.), entitled, “Life,” to raise funds for Autism Speaks. Kaitlin, having been working on jigsaw puzzles for the last seven years, feels that this is the biggest challenge yet.

Kaitlin has completed this puzzle several times before, and is no stranger when it comes to completing puzzles that require significant time contributions, averaging approximately 250 hours of work to complete one of these involved puzzles. She is currently “Youngest in the World to Complete Solo,” “The Youngest in the World Solo after Mixing All the Puzzle Pieces Prior to Assembling,” and “First to Complete in New Jersey, USA.”

To learn more about Kaitlin’s latest endeavor and to make a donation, visit her website: http://www.everypiececounts.com

Autism Speaks: Thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us! How did you come up with ‘Every Piece Counts?’
Kaitlin Reilly: Well, I was working on a puzzle and my brother came up with an idea. He thought that maybe we get could people to sponsor a piece and then donate to a charity.

AS: Why autism?

KR: Well my cousin has autism, and I have other family members and friends that are affected. I wanted to raise awareness and funds for autism research.

AS: So what is your game plan?

KR: I am looking to raise $24,000, because the puzzle has 24,000 pieces. I am going to work putting the pieces together  as donations come in. I want to keep with the pace!

AS: What is the puzzle design?
KR: The puzzle is called “Life,” and is actually the worlds largest puzzle. The Autism Speaks puzzle piece logo and the “Life” puzzle are fitting. We are all puzzle pieces and we all fit together to form a bigger picture of unity and overall life. Every person, every animal, every living thing fits together.

AS: Where will you be assembling this puzzle?
KR: There is a room in my house that we call the ‘Puzzle Room.’ Luckily this puzzle fits!

AS: How did you become interested in puzzles?
KR: I started when I was 10. I saw a puzzle of New York City and I just loved it. There was 1,000 pieces! I loved the picture, but had never done a puzzle before. My family helped me and I have been hooked ever since!

AS: What are some of your other hobbies?
KR: I play tennis, volunteer, cook, bake, and well, put together puzzles!

  1. Dadvocate
    April 18, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Great idea Kaitlin! My teen son with ASD loves jigsaw puzzles. I’m not, but my wife is and its really interesting to me how differently they approach the puzzle’s challenge. For my wife (and I suspect most folks), she looks first at the color and picture then matches the shape. For my son with ASD, the color and picture are quite secondary to the shape of the piece. He’s fast and can see connections between pieces that most others can’t. Good luck and I’ll be proud to support you.

    • April 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      Thank you so much for supporting my puzzle project. As you probably read by story on my website (www.everypiececounts.com) then you can see that I have been doing jigsaw puzzles for years now. I can totally relate to how you son approaches the puzzle… as I too, can see the connections very fast. I will be posting updates on my blog with pics, too… and on Facebook as well. If you are on Facebook, I would love for you to “LIKE” us… we are trying to not only raise $24,000 for research but would love to get 24,000 people to LIKE us on Facebook…. I know it is a lot… but why not try:-) Thanks again… Kaitlin

  2. April 18, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    What an awesome idea! I am thanking you for my beautiful son Colt who is challenged with autism. I am proud to support you!

    • April 18, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Thank you Stephanie for your donation and support! If you are on Facebook,we would love for you to “LIKE” us at Every Piece Counts and be sure to follow my blog and updates as I will be posting pics of the puzzle as I finish sections. I am not only trying to raise $24,000 for research but I would love to get 24,000 people to “LIKE” us on Facebook as well… bringing Autism Awareness to more people. And be sure to pass along my website to your family and friends. Thank you again:-) Kaitlin

  3. Jennifer Price
    April 28, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Fantastic project Kaitln! Great to see someone so young doing such a wonderful thing! I will be watching your blog and can’t wait to see the end product!

  4. Beverly Gardner
    May 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Saw your article in the Fresno Bee on May 18th. Fantastic! I can’t imagine doing a puzzle with 24,000 pieces. I have been working puzzles for at least 30 years, and I have done dozens of them from 500 to 1500 pieces. Even though I live in a mobile home and have limited room, I have glued them together and have a few of them framed and on my walls. Have also sold a few to friends. I admire your cause to help Autism Speaks and am sending a small donation and wishing you luck in attaining your goal. From a 78 year old puzzle addict.

  5. Beverly Gardner
    May 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Just sent you an email. Just wrote a check for $20.00. Forgot to mention that my Grandaughter’s name is Kaitlin and my Grandson is married to a girl named Sarah, so along with our love of puzzling, we have other things in common. Keep up the good work and I hope you meet your goal after this publicity.

  1. April 15, 2011 at 9:33 pm
  2. June 23, 2011 at 9:10 pm

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