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Alpha Xi Delta Raises $1.57 Million Milestone

Maura Reiff is a rising junior at West Liberty University in West Virginia. Last week she attended the Alpha Xi Delta women's fraternity national convention in San Francisco. Maura decided to join Alpha Xi Delta because its chosen philanthropy is Autism Speaks. Maura's little brother Colton has autism.

Alpha Xi Delta celebrated its 50th biennial convention last week in San Francisco. Didi Conn, longtime spokeswoman for Autism Speaks and well known as the character Frenchie in the movie "Grease," spoke at the philanthropy breakfast on July 2nd where it was announced that Alpha Xi Delta has raised over $1.57 million for Autism Speaks since adopting our cause in 2009. We received this note from sorority sister and autism sibling Maura Reiff from West Liberty University.

I cannot thank you enough for coming into my life. I had an absolute blast at convention with you and cannot thank you enough for introducing me to Didi. When I first started my journey into Alpha Xi Delta, I was so nervous but I knew this is where my home is for the rest of my life. Without Autism Speaks, we wouldn't be close to finding cures. You have inspired me so much. I have attached a photo of my little brother, Colton and me.

I'm not sure people understand what the average seven year old thinks about. Do they want Cocoa Puffs or do they want Fruity Pebbles? Should they go watch Spongebob or Dora? Do they want to play with Mr. Box Fan today or Mr. Vacuum. Yes. Mr. Box Fan. That’s my little brother’s best friend. He’ll tell you himself. Mr. Box Fan is exactly what his name is, he’s a medium fan that my brother literally will sit himself in front of and mess with the notches and speeds. I don’t think my brother woke up one morning and said, “Hey God! I want you to make me a little more different than everyone else. I want you to make me afraid of voice commentary in movies and make me refuse to eat any bread. I want you to make me difficult to work with. More importantly, I want you to make people look at me funny." I always fear his future. What’s he going to do when all the kids don’t want to play on the playground with him? What’s going to happen when I’m not there to protect him from the bullies. He doesn't know better. The only thing I wish for is for others to love Colt as much as everyone else does. I want him to kiss a girl for the first time. I want him to be happy in his life. I am blessed to have a brother who is as loving as anyone could ever imagine. He is beautiful inside and outside.

When people ask me why I chose Alpha Xi Delta, I did not just choose it for the amazing sisters I have gained, I chose it for him. I chose it to find help and to have more hope. I chose it to have sisters support my not only my little brother, but the 1 in 88 children who are diagnosed daily.

It really are the sisters I have, like you, who make me have more hope every single day. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.