A YOUNG schoolgirl touched the heart of her teacher when she wrote an essay wishing her brother could be "cured of autism".
"Every person needs a Rachel in their lives," wrote teacher Kathryn Lenaghan after she read the impromptu essay by nine-year-old Rachel Cahill.
The third-class student began the essay after she had finished her day's work at St Paul's NS in Navan.
Titled 'I wish, I wish, I wish', she begins: "Since my little brother Matthew was two, I have always had the same wish.
"When Matthew was two, he was diagnosed with autism. Autism has no cure. Some children with autism can talk, understand and communicate, but Matthew can't.
She continues: "So ever since Matthew was diagnosed with autism, my wish was for Matthew's autism to be healed."
Rachel's story prompted Ms Lenaghan to write a letter to her parents. It said: "Rachel is an extraordinary child with a lovely caring nature. We are all so lucky to have her. . . Rachel, you will touch the lives of many people. We are very proud of you here."
Rachel's mother Caroline Cahill asked for the letter to be highlighted today, World Autism Awareness Day.
Caroline and her husband Mark have two other sons, Shane (11) and Jayden (2), who are just as sensitive to Matthew's condition.
The family are fundraising to build a sensory room for Matthew and are holding a table quiz next Friday, April 11, in the Stonehouse in Navan. For information, email friendsofmatthew21 @gmail.com.