Autism is a neurological disorder that affects 1 in every 110 children and families, characterized by significant deficits in communication, play, and social interaction. Having a twin brother with severe autism, 15 year-old Rebecca understands the huge personal, educational, and financial challenges that families face on a daily basis.
In 2005, when Rebecca began asking serious questions about her brother, the future, and autism, she wanted to know about research, causes, treatments, and a cure. She learned that the causes are unknown and that public and private research funding is significantly less than the funding for many less prevalent conditions.
Rebecca loves her brother with a fierce loyalty, and she was deeply disturbed by the lack of attention to autism research and the isolation of children with autism. Rebecca formed a team, Doing It for Dave, and recruited fellow students to join her effort. The team ran a series of bake sales and lemonade stands, wrote letters to families and friends, and raised $4500 for autism research. Since 2005, Rebecca has organized a team each year, raising increasing sumsfor a current fundraising total of over $55,000. In addition to direct fund raising for research and services, Rebecca raises community awareness about autism and promotes an inclusive community. She contacts businesses in the community to promote autism awareness and autism research and even started a small business, Cakes for a Cause, which provides custom cakes and bake goods while donating all proceeds to Autism Speaks and spreading awareness about the disorder. She is certainly a teen with a mission.