Mark Blaxill: Lies, Damned Lies and CDC Autism Statistics
It's a Viral World: Making Autism Contagious.

Thank You Molly Hightower, Haiti Earthquake Victim

Molly hightower By Deb Mylander

As I sat and read about all of the horrible devastation that has occurred in Haiti this week, I was struck by a story (HERE) that took my breath away. It was about a young, missing, 22 year old American woman, named Molly Hightower. (See Molly's blog HERE.) She worked with a Catholic organization that housed abandoned children and special needs children and adults. In the story there was a link to her blog which I clicked on and read. The blog was written pre-earthquake and she explained the daily struggle of these poor, helpless human beings she was working with.

Most of them were abandoned as infants or in early childhood (once their parents became aware of their disability). From her description, she cared for kids and adults with mild and severe Autism, as well as people with Down syndrome. Before the quake, the description of their daily lives was heartbreaking; sitting in rooms, without visitors or much stimulation. It reminded me of descriptions of old insane asylums...wounded souls being stuffed away to quietly rot.

As I read the story and looked at the children and adults she cared for, I became very emotional. Before the earthquake these were throw-away lives. After the earthquake how could any of them possibly survive without help? In Molly's blog there is a picture of what looks to be a 26 year old man named Daniel that is part of the disabled group that she helped serve. My mind has created a scenario of Daniel's inner-experience; of his hell.

"Pretty Molly didn't come today. I wish she would come. She gives me squishy play dough to run my fingers through and she smiles at me. I like smiles. Nobody smiles at me. Most people seem to try to escape from my presence. Something else happened today, the ground started to shake and shake. Things started falling, people started falling, and then things started falling on people. I want to scream. I want to ask what is happening but just like always the words can't leave my mouth. So I sit and I rock and I try to not let the water leave my eyes every time parts of the heavy wall fall onto my body. Then the shaking stops. When I open my eyes to look around all I see is white dirt and pieces of what used to be my home pinning me to the ground. I can see the sun trying to reach at me into the dark, dusty place but it can only touch my face with a sliver of light through a crack in the broken wall above my head. I want to yell for help. My words are still trapped, I am trapped..."

Molly's body was found and identified today (Friday, January 15, 2010). My heart goes out to her family. They should be proud that they raised such a selfless young woman. My heart also goes out to Daniel and all of the other Daniels' trapped in the rubble and wandering the devastated ruins. It is difficult to imagine being a “Daniel”. Coming from the poorest country on the earth; with a disability that gives you no voice and little understanding; without a family that claims you; alone in a land that was destroyed by an earthquake. I pray that guardian angels, both human and otherworldly, walk along side these souls and pull them out into the light.

“Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.”  ~Norman B. Rice

Deb Mylander resides in Oregon with her family.


boat parts

This is very touching and very sincere. I applaud Simon-Pierre for all this hard work and changing the lives of these children. I am Haitian myself and also work with children who has Autism. I understand both the struggle of Haitians and the children with Autism and their families. I will continue pray and hope things will change for the better.

michele i.

wow, what a beautiful, sad, moving piece. I'm so sorry for Molly, for her family, and for Daniel.


Thank you for sharing this. I spent some time on her blog and read all her old posts. The people commenting on her blog wishing her safe return before they found her was heartbreaking.

Condolences to Molly's family.

Skye B.

Thank you Molly for your life and thank you Debbie for beautifully illustrating how just one Molly can make such a huge difference.


Thank you making us aware of this beautiful woman. I will pray especially hard tonight for the Daniels of Haiti. :(


What a sad, but uplifting story, just the same. It just reminds us all how precious life is and how important it is to give to others as much as we possibly can.

Autism Grandma

Everything caught up with me this morning. My daughter is losing her business due to the economy in the last year so she is filing bankruptcy. My neice just moved in with me because she has been suffering so terribly with problems living with her alcoholic mother. My daughter is moving in with her 3 year old son this month and I can't seem to get everything organized fast enough. I am worried sick about how we are going to keep my grandson going in his autism recovery program since I have limited disability income myself, and now I have a whole houseful of financially challenged people.

I know that God has a plan, but sometimes like today I would just like to know how exactly I am going to be able to accomplish everything.

But after reading this story it has become apparent to me that all of my own problems are quite INSIGNIFICANT IN COMPARISON TO THESE SUFFERING PEOPLE.

THANK YOU DEB for waking me up to reality, and THANK YOU to all of the amazing Molly's in this world who share their heart and soul so selflessly with those who are sick and suffering. GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

Marlyss Springer

This was a beautiful story Deb. You write beautifully and paint an amazing story that many of us may never think about. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us.


Thank you for sharing this piece...My thoughts and prayers are with Molly's family...and for all the people who lived and did outreach in Haiti...


God bless Molly. A true Angel as others have said. She was put on earth so the rest of us wouldn't give up on the human race.

Randy Jo Stewart

Beautifully written! Your words enlightened and moved me on so many diffrent levels Debbie. I hope to see more here written by you in the future for you seem to be able to put into words what so many of us are feeling.


God bless one of God's angels, Molly Hightower. She is surely in Heaven and is watching over all the disabled children she cared so much for.

Theresa Cedillo

God Bless you Molly and your family for raising such an amazing young woman. She was a Mother Teresa in the making. May God bless and help those she cared for.


what a hero! just makes us aware that anyone can be a superhero even if your superpower is a smile and a caring heart! she is an inspiration !
I can not imagine what the beautiful kids and adults there must be going thru right now! the confusion and despair. ....prayers don't seem enough I can't help but wish we could hop on a plane and go and help now!!!
I can't even imagine what their daily lives were like let alone now! does anyone know if there is an organization here that helps the disabled specifically in situations like this? if not, there needs to be!
this also makes me wonder why adopting kids like Daniel out to families that want them either is possible or way too expensive...shame shame

God bless the residents and all of the rescue help!

mom to ethan, alex, and megan

Kelli Ann Davis

"I pray that guardian angels, both human and otherworldly, walk along side these souls and pull them out into the light."

My exact prayer on Wednesday! Praying and weeping..."Watch and Pray!"

His the rubble...praying for His Angels to find them... and bring others to their rescue!!!

Molly is a hero. A bright and shining beacon to a dying world! Oh, that there were more like her...what a different world this would be!


This is unbelievably sad. My heart goes out to Molly's family.


Lovely story about a beautiful soul helping the helpless. Thank you for sharing it.


This story along with many others we read that inspire us and remind us that one person can make such a positive difference in this wonderful world. Thank you Deb for reminding us to be inspired and make a difference!

Cathy Jameson

That was beautiful, Deb. I will often forget about the outside world when I feel trapped in my own house and our own issues. Thank you for reaching out to honor Molly and to those who inspired her in her work.


God bless this amazing young woman and her family. Some people make a difference very early in their lives, and she was obviously one of them. What an angel.

Teresa Conrick

I have a Daniel upstairs sleeping right now. Your writing Deb has me so moved and very grateful as I wipe away tears. There have been Molly Hightowers in my life and they are angels on this earth. I can not imagine the pain of her family especially as they must know of these poor souls left behind.

Knowing that Daniel in Haiti and so many like him are alone, in pain and trapped, is devastating. Will our cries and prayers be enough? Is anyone helping? What can be done? God help them.

Tim Kasemodel

Whenver I think about the future of our children, especially during these tough economic times and all the budget cuts to services for the disabled, I keep thinking "nobody cares".

Thank you Deb, for sharing this, for proving me wrong, for restoring my hope.

God Bless Molly Hightower, and all the others that prove me wrong everyday.


Thank you to Molly and to her family. What a gift she gave, and you gave in her. God bless, rest in peace.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)