Created by Nathan Grant in 2015, Siblings with a Mission is an international organization dedicated to serve and support siblings who have brothers or sisters with special needs. Growing up, Nathan realized there are not many support groups for siblings. Many siblings and parents want to receive support and stay in contact with others who have similar experiences. Without a strong support system, many siblings can feel alone. That's when Nathan decided to create Siblings with a Mission - an organization where siblings can use their stories to support others and raise awareness of what it's like to live with someone who has a disability. Online, international, and available 24/7, Siblings with a Mission strives to provide meaningful support and inspire siblings and families to use their stories to make a difference.
Founding Members of Siblings with a Mission
President and Founder of Siblings with a Mission
Founder and President of Siblings with a Mission, Nathan Grant is the twin brother of Nik Grant who has a rare genetic lysosomal storage disorder known as mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) II (Hunter Syndrome). Determined to find help for his brother, Nathan joined the National MPS Society where he learned how important it is for siblings to have a strong network of support.
From Cincinnati, OH, Nathan is currently studying for an MPhil in Health, Medicine, and Society at the University of Cambridge, where he is researching the experiences of caregivers of people with developmental disabilities. Nathan graduated from Harvard College in May 2020 with a major in biology and a minor in social anthropology. By creating Siblings with a Mission, Nathan hopes to offer support to families and inspire families to use their unique stories to spread awareness of disabilities. Nathan strives to inspire siblings to make a difference no matter their age and background.
Motivated by his passion for pizza, Nathan also created Everyone Loves Pizza (www.clubpizza.net), a club that reviews local pizzerias and donates pizza to organizations that help children with special needs. Nathan looks forward to meeting other siblings through Siblings with a Mission, and he is very excited to read and help share others' stories.
Vice President of Siblings with a Mission
Josh is currently a senior at Harvard College where he is studying biology. Josh is passionate about genetics and plans to conduct research on causes underlying various mental disabilities. His twin brother Jacob is diagnosed with severe autism and is Josh’s main inspiration for joining Siblings with a Mission. Josh hopes to spread awareness around the world about the importance of an active community where members embrace their roles as loyal and loving siblings. Besides his passion for genetics, Josh loves to run track, compete in soccer, and play the piano.
Operations Executive of Siblings with a Mission
Manav is currently a freshman at Case Western Reserve University. As the Operations Executive of Siblings with a Mission, Manav is excited to help the organization grow its business and fundraising platforms. Although Manav does not have a sibling affected by a disorder, he is heavily involved in psychiatric research, with a focus on bipolar disorder. Manav also volunteers and shadows at a local hospital in Cincinnati, OH. Manav wishes to one day enter medicine himself, particularly in a field related to the brain. In his free time, Manav enjoys playing tennis, the piano, dancing, and theater and hopes that, through Sibling with a Mission, he can make a difference for both siblings and individuals with special needs.
Director of Support Services
Stacey Gruber is a doctoral student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. She graduated magna cum laude with honors in engineering from the Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in chemical and biomolecular engineering and a minor in entrepreneurship and worked in the chemical processing industry before starting graduate school. Her graduate research is focused on additive bio-manufacturing for structural tissue engineering and repair. Stacey recently completed the Leadership Education in Nuerodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). Stacey has worked to raise awareness of family and sibling issues to clinicians, assisted in developing an online training module for physicians about the disability community, advocated for disability rights, shared experiences as a speaker at community events, and educated other engineers about universal design, assistive technology, and appropriate people-first language. She has been involved with other local and national community organizations such as May We Help, the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League, OhioSIBS, and EnableUC.
Stacey grew up in rural Midwest Ohio as the third of four siblings. Her oldest sibling has cerebral palsy. She was struck by the lack of support for both people with disabilities and their siblings throughout the lifespan and is excited to expand the support efforts. As Director of Support Services, Stacey’s role at Siblings with a Mission will be to oversee support groups, build partnerships with organizations who have similar goals, and raise awareness about sibling resources and challenges.
Prathamesh Chati is currently a senior at Mason High School in Mason, Ohio. When asked why he joined Siblings with a Mission, Prathamesh explains that he wants to gain a new perspective of life and help people spread awareness about their experiences living with a sibling who has special needs. Prathamesh says that he really loves the goals of Siblings with a Mission and our community that we built. In his free time, Prathamesh likes to play the piano or basketball. He hopes to someday pursue a career in cardiology.
Katie is an 18-year-old from a suburb outside of Chicago. She has a 16-year old brother with high functioning autism and a 13-year-old sister. Katie will be attending Miami University of Ohio in the fall. She spends a lot of time volunteering and working with people with special needs. She also enjoys swimming as well as playing water polo and softball. Katie absolutely love to write, which is what drew her to join Siblings with a Mission. Katie wishes to write to spread awareness and offer support through her essays and stories. Katie says she is very happy to become a part of this organization and meet other siblings.
Katie McNamara is an 18-year-old from Worcester, MA. Her twin brother, Brian, has autism. Katie's brother is her best friend and motivates her to help others. Katie is a studious student and devotes her time to visit with her brother, spend quality time with him, and her mother, and friends. Katie express herself best through writing, and she plans to major in Psychology since she has been fascinated with that field of work since she was young. Katie decided to join Siblings with a Mission to unite with other siblings who have motivation and understanding for their brother or sister. She wants to enlighten others about her experiences growing up with her twin brother, who inspires her to understand others and advocate for autism awareness.
Allison Yan is a junior at Harvard College with long-term goals of becoming a physician scientist and developing effective ways to translate scientific discovery to patient care. Inspired by how Siblings with a Mission has touched so many families around the world, Allison wanted to get involved and meaningfully contribute to the Siblings with a Mission community. As a Science and Research contributor, Allison will draw on her previous research experiences in autoimmune disease and degenerative disorders, as well as multiple shadowing experiences across different medical specialties, to write articles about recent breakthroughs in special needs research and what it is like to be an undergraduate researcher. Outside of Siblings with a Mission, Allison is actively involved in term-time research, volunteering, and the Harvard Crimson. She loves trying new foods, and is always partial towards quality brunch places.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Group:
Leader of the ASD Group, Staci Lawson is from Alabama and is 20 years old. Her brother, Jake, is 27 years old and diagnosed with Autism, Asperger syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, Dyslexia, ODD, and Epilepsy. Staci explains that she is blessed to be Jake’s sister and considers every day she has with her brother a gift.
In her free time, Staci likes to listen to music and read. Currently enrolled in college, Staci hopes to become a nurse. As Staci explains, “I have never nor will I ever hide Jake or be ashamed of him. Jake is the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
Kristina de Mora
Kristina de Mora is a senior at Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, New Jersey. She looks forward to her position as a leader of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Support Group for Siblings with a Mission. Her passion for those affected by autism is personal as her twin sister Isabella is on the autism spectrum. Having a busy volunteer schedule and being an aspiring actress, Kristina has a passion for helping others and devotes her time to organizations such as the Autism Theatre Initiative for autism-friendly Broadway performances. Kristina also volunteers her energy and efforts to Alpine Learning Group as well as the Brooklyn Autism Center, both schools for children on the autistic spectrum. When she is not busy with school, extracurricular activities, and volunteering, Kristina loves to hula-hoop, read a good book, and socialize with her friends.
Leader of the ASD group, Amanda Potthast is an 18 year old from the suburbs of Chicago. Her 16 year-old brother, Spencer, has Autism. Amanda has been through the struggles and the joys of siblinghood and is passionate about spreading awareness and inclusion for those with disabilities. She is currently pursuing a degree in Speech Pathology and plans to work with children with disabilities as a speech therapist. When she’s not studying, working as a nanny, or volunteering in the community, Amanda enjoys singing, playing piano, performing in theatre productions, and reading a good book!
International Leader of the ASD Group and Social Media Contributor, Mahisha Ramalingam has a 12-year-old brother with Autism. Mahisha is fluent in two languages: English and Tamil. In her free time, Mahisha loves to shop.
Mahisha is eager to help families and siblings of individuals with autism. As Mahisha explains, “I always believe there is a reason to live, and that reason is to help my brother and family.”
Down Syndrome Group:
Leader of the Down Syndrome Group, Analia Rodriguez, or “Ana,” is 19 years old and resides in Lakeland and Naples, Florida. Her brother, Eli, has Down syndrome. By serving as a Chairman, Ana hopes to show the world that people who look or sound “different” may not be that different after all. Ana’s goal is to teach others that disabilities do not prevent people from having fun and enjoy life, too.
Ana considers her family to be a major part of her life. In her free time, Ana enjoys taking walks with her friends, hanging out on the beach, and watching movies and Netflix with her family.
Louise van den Bergh
International Leader of the Down Syndrome Group and Journalist, Louise van den Bergh is 16 years old and from Cape Town, South Africa. Louise’s older sister, Bea, has Down syndrome. A music enthusiast, Louise likes to play guitar and piano - which she has been playing since the age of 7. Louise is also a member of her school band. In her free time, Louise likes to hike, watch movies, and indulge in Time magazines. Louise admits that she enjoys a good cup of coffee and is a bit of a “chocoholic.”
Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) Group:
Perri Bryan Elliott
Perri Bryan Elliott was born and adopted in Titusville, Florida and raised in North Carolina. Perri explains that she was blessed to be joined with a family who already had the best boy ever created – her brother Ray. 5 years older than Perri, Ray was diagnosed with mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) III A. Unfortunately, Ray passed away on September 17, 2007. As Perri explains, “The day [my brother] passed away, my entire world crumbled. I had no idea how to handle his death.” Though these last 8 years have been difficult, Perri has learned how to cope with her feelings. By becoming friends with many MPS families and siblings, Perri better understands MPS and knows how to explain the disorder to others. As Perri advises, “Finding friends that understand the situations you go through makes life a lot easier, especially because a lot of people have never heard of MPS.”
Perri has just graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in Elementary education. She is now working on receiving her general and adaptive special education license. For fun, Perri likes to do arts and crafts. Perri enjoys spending time with her fiancé and family. She has two dogs. Perri wants siblings to know that if they have any questions, she is open to answering anything.
A graduate from the University of Ulster with a bachelor's degree in Psychology, Stephen McCawille is currently in his first year of a research doctorate examining the neurological, cognitive and environmental underpinnings of potentially problematic behaviours that can be demonstrated by individuals diagnosed with mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) types II and III. Stephen has a sibling named Shaun who has been diagnosed with MPS II. Shaun has been a great influence in Stephen’s chosen career profession as, until very recently, there has been little to no research on the behavioural profile of this rare genetic disorder.
In his spare time, Stephen enjoys running. In 2011, Stephen participated in the Belfast Marathon and raised money for the UK MPS Society. Currently, Stephen is training for the Dublin Marathon in October.
Cerebral Palsy Group:
Bethany Light, a Leader of the Cerebral Palsy Group, is currently a Health Science major at the University of Central Arkansas. Inspired by her twin brother with Cerebral Palsy, Bethany developed an interest in helping injured veterans and adults with special needs. Bethany is currently working in the therapy department of her local hospital where she is gaining experience in the field she plans to enter: Physical and Occupational Therapy.
Bethany volunteers with A Field of Angels and Rover Baptist Church. Through her church, Bethany wrote articles for the Yell County Record, participated in mission trips, and is currently assisting with their youth group. By volunteering with A Field of Angels, Bethany helps her brother and other special needs teenagers learn to love the game of baseball. When she is not volunteering, Bethany plays cards with friends, chills with her family, goes swimming, reads books, and listens to music. She also enjoys cooking and growing vegetables with her mom.
Siena Ruggeri, 19, is from Lafayette, Colorado. She is currently studying Politics and Spanish at Regis University. Her sister, Sophia, is 23 and diagnosed with Migrational Disorder of the Cortex, a condition similar to Cerebral Palsy. Siena's sister, Sophia, is an energetic and joyful woman who loves horseback riding and fishing. Growing up around the disabled community, Siena has a lifetime of experiences with disability, especially physical and mobility challenges. She is eager to share her story and connect with other siblings.
Siena enjoys debating competitively for her college, as well as writing, playing clarinet and violin, volunteering, and traveling. Siena likes to spend her free time exploring the Rocky Mountains with her family.
16 years old and from Ontario, Canada, Julia Lipsit is the International Leader of the Cerebral Palsy Group. Julia’s sister, Tara, is 27 years old and has mild-moderate Cerebral Palsy. Julia’s sister has had Cerebral Palsy since the day she was born, so Julia has a lot of experience and knows what it’s like to be a sibling of someone with CP. Julia likes spending time with Tara and just doing the stuff that sisters do on an everyday basis. Julia is really excited to be a Chairmen and hopes to meet and help siblings from around the world.
In her free time, Julia likes to read, listen to music, play piano and clarinet, sing, walk, swim, and watch YouTube videos. Her favourite TV shows are Supernatural and Criminal Minds.
Leader of the ADD/ADHD Group, Katy Malnight is 16 years old and lives in Massachusetts. Three of her four siblings are disabled. One of her siblings is legally blind, brain damaged, and epileptic. Her other sibling is hearing impaired and has Hashimoto's. Two of her siblings are diagnosed with ADHD.
Inspired by her siblings, Katy became involved in the special needs community and volunteers to help the disabled and their families. When she is not helping children with special needs, Katy competes in slam poetry competitions and works for her town's TV station.
From the state of Indiana, Abby Walker is a Leader of the ADD/ADHD Group and a Contributor to the ASD Group. Abby has a 19-year-old brother with ADD, Asperger’s Syndrome, and high-functioning autism. Inspired by her brother and passionate about ADD/ADHD and ASD, Abby enjoys learning about special needs and strives to educate others about what it’s like to be a sibling of someone who is “different.”
Abby is also a French speaker and enjoys learning about all things French. In her free time, Abby likes to volunteer, play volleyball, and make music.
Bipolar Disorder Group:
Deanna, 19, is currently a sophomore in college and majoring in psychology and minoring in art therapy. She is pleased to serve as a Leader of the Bipolar Disorder Group and cannot wait to share and receive advice from others. Deanna has an older brother who is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, and Anxiety Disorder. As Deanna explains, “Living with a sibling with special needs isn’t easy. Therefore, I am dedicated to teaching families about mental illnesses.”
A Boston, Massachusetts native, Deanna enjoys east coast activities such as exploring tide pools, lounging on the beach, and fishing. She loves exploring nature, spirituality, drawing, theater, and singing. In addition to her hobbies, Deanna is a member of her school’s environmental awareness clubs. She is also the Secretary for the Philosophy Club. Deanna encourages members to “never be shy, say hello, ask any questions, and share stories!”
From Karachi, Pakistan, Hafsa Hamid is the International Leader of the Bipolar Disorder Group. Hafsa is 17 years old and in year 13 (which is the equivalent of senior year of high school in the United States). Hafsa’s older brother, Syed Abdul Majid, has bipolar disorder as well as Asperger’s syndrome.
Hafsa enjoys volunteering for community serve programs at her school. She also likes debating. In her free time, Hafsa enjoys reading and watching sports (mostly cricket).
Sibling Grief Support Group:
Leader of the Sibling Grief Support Group, Sarah Gniazdowski is 19 years old and from Springboro, Ohio. Sarah is currently a Junior Special Education major at Miami University of Ohio. Sarah’s brother, Danny, was diagnosed at the age of two with mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) II (Hunter Syndrome). In 2005, Danny unfortunately passed away at the age of seven. Danny’s smile and laugh has touched many of our hearts.
In her free time, Sarah loves to travel and volunteer. Sarah is honored to be a part of Siblings with a Mission and looks forward to connecting with other siblings of children with special needs.
Join our Team and Partner with Us
We are always looking for siblings, family members, and professionals to share their stories. We are also looking to form partnerships with other support groups, organizations, and hospitals. If you would like to share your story, join our leadership team, or form a partnership with us, please contact us here. To view a list of our current partners, please click here. We would love to collaborate and work with you!
Members and Countries
We seek to offer support and spread awareness in every state and every country in the world. We are always trying to grow and expand. Please see our Members and Countries page for a list of locations where we have provided support to siblings and families.
Siblings with a Mission is an international organization established to serve and support siblings of individuals with special needs. All images are found on Google images and are solely used for education purposes. The stories and advice provided by Siblings with a Mission are not to be replaced by professional advice and counseling but to be considered as an additional source of support.