Home > Awareness, Fundraising > An Even Sweeter 16

An Even Sweeter 16

My name is Meghan des Groseilliers and I’m a sophomore at Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, Delaware. My 10-year-old brother Robby was diagnosed with PDD/NOS eight years ago. Over the years, living with autism has deeply impacted me.  I have watched my brother both struggle and succeed daily in most everything he does. Because of this experience, I wanted to make a difference for children diagnosed with autism and their families. I  have walked for Cure Autism Now and subsequently, Autism Speaks. So the choice of this organization, which is near and dear to my heart, as the recipient of a fundraiser was a simple one. For my “Sweet 16” birthday party on March 20, I invited 150 of my friends to a dance party at a local fire hall. Instead of receiving birthday gifts, I asked my friends to make a donation to Autism Speaks and we raised $3,200. There were three key reasons for doing this, the first of which was to help Autism Speaks help families like mine.  But the other two reasons were just as important. First, the party helped raise awareness of autism with teens in my community.  It was remarkable to see the number of raised hands when Christina Carty (Greater Delaware Valley Regional Walk Director) asked how many people had a family member or knew of somebody affected by autism. This is important because we need to know that there are others out there to talk to about our common feelings and struggles. The video and statistics shown at the party gave us a clear picture of the proliferation of autism and the limited funding it receives. Finally, this party was an incredible lesson in giving and I hope other kids will do the same with a charity of their choice. In the end, we all had a great time socializing and dancing for a wonderful cause. Even Robby danced and enjoyed the party as well, showing my friends that even though he’s on the spectrum, he’s no different than them – he’s a kid who wants to have a great time in support of a great cause.

Meghan des Groseilliers with Autism Speaks' Christina Carty

  1. April 23, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Meghan We are so proud of you. You have such a generous heart. Love Mom and Dad.

  2. April 24, 2010 at 1:45 am

    That is amazing. My heart has been warmed and filled from reading this story. Good for you!!!

  3. Cindy
    April 24, 2010 at 2:28 am

    Great story! You are a wonderful young lady. Your little brother is so lucky to have you as a big sister. Thank you for raising awareness for such an important cause.

  4. April 24, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    wow meghan, you wrote such an amazing paragraph, it rlly touched me..its very inspiring(; good for you.

  5. April 24, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Thank You Meghan I have a 4 year old grandson with Autism he is so wonderful and like Robby succeeds and struggles but he is doing so great we are so proud of him. The first time he said Minnie ( which is what my grandkids call me ) I cried it was the most beautiful word I ever heard . Now he is talking very well still has a way to go ofcourse these kids will always need our support. What a wonderful sister you are keep up the good work!!
    Sheena Cullen

  6. April 24, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Meghan, you have a heart of gold! Thank you so much for doing this and on your sweet 16th Birthday. You are truly amazing.

  7. Chris Grover
    April 24, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    It’s wonderful to see teens today that think of others before themselves. You did an amazing thing Meghan, you’re a beautiful girl both inside and out. My 21 year old son has autism so I too appreciate all you have done to bring attention to autism. Thank you so much. Happy Belated Birthday!!

    Chris Grover

  8. Tracy
    April 24, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    What a great idea Meghan! Thank you for doing this, it’s teens like you that we need to help raise Autism Awareness. It meant so much to me and my family to read your story. My son, Brett, has Autism and we try to raise awareness around our community. Although autism diagnosis is on the rise, it’s amazing how many people still have never heard of this disorder. Thanks again and awesome idea!

  9. Maryann Cota
    April 24, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    I would like to start out saying you are a very special sister. Your brother is very lucky. Your brother is also very special. I have a son who will be 10 years old in a few months and like Sheena the first time he said mommy and the first time he said the words I Love You my heart filled with joy and the tears flowed. He is now a big boy almost as tall as me and is in the 3rd grade doing the same work as his fellow classmates and holding honor roll. That warms my heart. So to all those parents out there the hard work is all worth it and then some. The sooner you find out the better gain you get to getting them where they need to be. :D

  10. Shelley T from TN
    April 24, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you Meghan!! What a great way to not only give back to your community (by raising awareness in your community) but also passing it on!! I am a mom of 3 boys who are 18 (nuerotypical or NT) an 11 year old (ASD) and then an 8 year old (NT)…it is SOOO important that kids of ALL ages familiarize themselves with this disorder, mainly because in another 10 years the number of children living with autism today..will seem like it had doubled! The kids today living with autism will all be becoming adults, and will need our assistance in Helping them become productive parts of society. Every year the numbers increase newly diagnosed children. They are ALL need our acceptance, understanding and our guidance in order to succeed in life.

    Again, thank you for your story it popped out at me cuz my sister lives in Wilmington, DE… She is a proud supporter of any cause dealing with

  11. Geena
    April 24, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    You are truly an Angel. You’re brother is not only lucky to have you. You are lucky to have him. I have a feeling it doesn’t end here for you. I’m sure that there will be many more events like these in your future. Good Luck Sweetheart! Thanks for spreading awareness for our babies!

  12. Chris English
    April 24, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Job well done!! You are a really great sister. You truly inspire me! I appreciate your efforts on this project. I am the mother of an autistic child. I hope this will inspire others to become involved and get educated.

  13. Nora Fitzpatrick
    April 24, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    This is too awesome!

    Meghan, I am an Ursuline girl too…. class of 1987! I have a daughter with autism, who is 4. What a great young lady you are. I am so blown away by what you did.

    You are an inspiration!

  14. S Elizabeth Tillmes
    April 24, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    You go, girl. In a world where family is slowly being eroded, you stand up for your little brother. You supported Autism Awareness and the importance of family and community support. I wish my son (7yo, pdd-nos) had a big sister like you. Robby is so blessed to have you. Congratulations on a FABULOUS choic,e and I wish you continued success in all you do!

  15. April 24, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    That’s wonderful! You inspire me to continue fight for the families affected by ASD.
    God Bless you!

  16. Megan Blaney
    April 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    You’re awesome, Meghan!!

  17. Ilene Martin
    April 24, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    What a fabulous young lady you are! And…what a wonderful sister. There are siblings of people with disabilities who care the way you do, but, unfortunately, there are many who don’t. I am the mother of a man who has Cerebral Palsy and have seen the interaction of siblings both young and old. In comparison to some of these, YOU ARE OUTSTANDING!

    My heart swells with pride in reading about your generosity in foregoing gifts for your sweet sixteen. Your parents must be so, so proud of you. Keep up the good work…YOU ARE A WONDER!

  18. Helen Lynd
    April 24, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    This is very inspirational to me. My daughter turned 10 yesterday and we have a 6 year old son with Autism. It is hard for her, and for us to watch both of my kids struggle with Autism. Meghan is an inspiration for my daughter because there IS something she can do to help. Thank you, Meghan, for being a hero!

  19. Hal
    April 24, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Meghan, You have shown that there are still truly selfless people. You are really altruistic, your family has every right to be proud of you, and both you and your brother are extremely blessed to have each other. You are a wonderful human being.

  20. April 25, 2010 at 2:52 am

    The world needs more people like you : )

  21. Laurie Hayes
    April 25, 2010 at 5:02 am

    Hi Meghan,

    I just wanted to say that you are an exceptional 16 year old and I am so impressed by you. I have a 14 year old daughter who is very close to her autistic brother who is 9 yrs old. There is such a strong and beautiful bond there and I think both boys are very blessed to have sisters like you and my daughter Kelly.

    May God bless you and Robby and your family.

    Take care,
    Laurie Hayes
    El Paso, TX

  22. Sheldon Stubbs
    April 25, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Thank you for your sweet-16 fundraiser for autism and your brother. My 16 year old son has PDD Autism. Good and bad days yes, but he needs extra tenderheart
    Because of his PDD, his social limitations come through. I encouraged him to join facebook & he finally had me help him sign him up. Facebook has been a miracle for him, as he is getting a lot of friends on FB, though he mostly fights in the mafia wars and WW-I. His interaction with friends have made life and relationsips fun and you can see a calmness in his life. Thank you Meghan and Facebook!!!!!

  23. Karen Smith
    April 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    What a great big sister you are. You are becoming a remarkable young women. Can’t imagine how proud your parents are of you.


    Tha Smith family

  24. Aunt Sissy
    April 26, 2010 at 7:27 pm


    This was such an unselfish act to do but I am not surprised. You are truly a wonderful and beautiful young lady and I know you will make a difference in this world. We need more people like you.

    Aunt Sissy

  25. Grandmaman
    April 27, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Grandpapa and I are very proud of you. You have always been very caring and loving toward Robby. Now you have shown compassion and selflessness plus you have made a lot of teenagers aware of the preciousness of special needs children. God bless you.
    Grandmaman and grandpapa

  26. Michele Larson
    April 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Thank you so much for your sweet 16 fund raiser for your brother and autism. that was such a selfless act. I have a daughter with PDD autism. It is really hard for me to watch people pick on her all the time. She has an older sister like you. They are really close.I wish there were more people in the world like you

  27. Kelly Heckert
    April 27, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Great job Megan!!! …I really appreciate you and your efforts….


  28. Kelly Heckert
    April 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Great job Megan!!!!!

    Thanks for all of your effort.


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