Teen with autism donates birthday cash to anti-bullying cause to celebrate 18th

Turning 18 years old is a big milestone, and a McDowell County teenager cashed in on his birthday for all the right reasons.

Our Person of the Week, Micah Greene, stunned his parents by asking for something that could help prevent others from a world of pain.

He collected and donated $350 to an anti-bullying group at McDowell High School called Friends of Rachel.

Micah has autism and says he's been bulIied in the past.

"All things considered, it's really overlooked," he explained. "Because you see that bullying is something that's always been happening and it's always going to happen."

At the Greene home on Old Fort, it seems like every day is like a mathematical equation.

"Just pretend the zero's not there," mom Maria said as they work through some algebra problems together.

"You nailed that one," she said to Micah, who's a homeschooler.

"Why do you act surprised?" he responded.

"Whenever something's too straight forward, I figure there's got to be a trick," Micah said, who admits the solution isn't always obvious. "Is there a trick?"

Maria told News 13 being at home with her son is gratifying.

"Watching that light bulb moment when everything just comes together," she said.

Together, they crunch the numbers and account for the variables that makes Micah so special.

"I'm high functioning autistic, remember that," Micah reminded his mom, who can only laugh.

Since he was diagnosed with autism in the second grade, Micah's grown to embrace who he is.

"Now, I see that as a positive thing," Micah said proudly.

Last month, when he turned 18, Micah made a grown up request.

"He wanted sugar cookies," Maria said. "I mean that was all he asked for was sugar cookies!"

Eventually, Micah settled for something even sweeter.

"We kind of put the word out that Micah was collecting money," Maria said. "Not for him, but for a charity."

To celebrate, he gave to a cause close to his heart.

Friends of Rachel is named in honor Rachel Scott, who was killed in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. Micah says along with personal history with the problem, he was outraged by bullying videos he's seen online.

The check presentation was years in the making, after what the teen called "dark times," when he struggled to find his place in the world.

"I think it's more that I had my head up my bum and decided to get it out," he said bluntly. "Just had to reach in and pull it out."

"I felt so proud that he was stepping up," Maria said. "And giving a voice to people that might not have spoken up."

"It made me feel like I did something right," she added. "Sometimes, when you're raising teenagers, you're not sure if you're making a difference."

Micah wants to make giving to charity a birthday tradition.

"He has such a heart for helping people that I am excited to see what the future holds for him," Maria said.

He has perspective well beyond his years, driven by bumps along the road.

"Good job!" his mom said to her son and student. "Fist bump!"

He fought through times when life was as complicated as math.

"No, I can't do algebra because it's useless!" he said.