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More To Love

Fighting for Autism Awareness

Rachel Estapa

For the past two decades, my amazing aunt Sheila has been a champion for autism awareness in Ireland. My cousin Colm, who is now in his late teens, has a severe case of autism and my aunt has fought long and hard to get support for him; even simply, getting the recognition socially and within the government that autism is a real disorder that affects many children and families. She has stood before government and against apathy, and the status-quo of the awareness around autism. To help support families that are dealing with autistic children, she created the organization "Grá Parents" [which means "Loving Parents" in Irish] and through it, has touched countless family's lives by providing education, programs and awareness of autism, and also a shoulder to lean upon during tough times. Like in the U.S., autism is on the rise within Ireland, and supporting one organization helps all to better manage and help children and families everywhere. One of the major banks in Ireland, AIB, is holding a national contest called "Better Ireland" that will give over 1.82million Euro [that's nearly $2.5M] to child-focused projects that receive the most votes through their website & texts. Among the O'Higgins cousins, we've taken a pledge to spread the word among our friends and family too -- as we love Colm, our aunt Sheila and know we can help Gra Parents using social media. This would mean so much to me personally, as before returning back to Ireland and having Colm, Sheila lived with us in the U.S. and took great care of me while I was just a baby.

How to Vote on-line FREE: Go to: http://www.betterireland.ie/vote.html Select County: GALWAY then TUAM ROAD Select: C - GRA PARENTS

Via TEXT [rates may apply]: Text: TUAMRD [space] C to the number 51303

Please forward this info onto your friends and family. It's the least we can do to help support Gra Parents and all the amazing work done by Sheila and family members who simply want the best for their children. My cousin Colm, with his huge smile and even bigger laugh, would thank you endlessly -- in his own, very special way. :)

Take care & THANK YOU!

-Rachel