Story by Bailey Bohannon, Contributing writer
The formal Sorority Recruitment at Murray State in the fall of 2015 will go down in history because of one sorority sister: Alexis Cain.
Cain, freshman from Murray, became the first woman with Down Syndrome to join a sorority at Murray State on Sunday, Aug. 16. Of the six sororities on campus, Alexis accepted a bid from Alpha Sigma Alpha, or ASA. Alexis had many options to choose from, but said she knew ASA was her place to be.
“After talking to them several times, I just knew it was them,” she said. “They made me feel amazing and at home.”
When Cain received her bid from ASA, her first response was to walk out onto stage and dance. As her new pledge sisters swarmed her for a group hug, there was not a dry eye in Lovett Auditorium.
“I was so excited when I got the envelope and it said ASA on it,” she said. “I feel a part of their group already. It felt good to know that the girls wanted me to join.”
Elizabeth Mattingly, president of ASA, said she is excited to have Cain in their sisterhood.
“She is a true example of bravery and perseverance,” she said. “I am excited to see not only how the chapter will benefit her, but also how she will forever change our chapter and touch the lives of past, present and future sisters of Alpha Sigma Alpha.”
Cain said the entire process has been eye-opening and life-changing for she and her sorority members, but she said she did not even realize she was changing the stereotype of sorority women.
“She has shown so many people what having a disability is about,” said Cammie Cain, Alexis’ mother. “She’s also shown them that people with disabilities are basically like everyone else. Alexis doesn’t even understand what this means for other girls like her.”
Cain is described as a girl with aspirations and motivation. The difference between Cain and everyone else though, is the obstacles that she has faced and overcome.
Cain said she wanted to have fun and gain a lot of sisters, so she set out with a determined heart to accomplish her goals.
“I didn’t know I inspire people,” she said. “It’s important for people to know that just because someone has a disability they should look past what they see. We have feelings and don’t like the R-word.”
Cain said it is important for others to understand that people with disabilities are like other people.
“I’m proud to be part of my group of awesome girls that have opened the door and shown it’s time to include and accept differences,” she said.
Editor’s Note: Reporter Bailey Bohannon is a member of Cain’s pledge class in Alpha Sigma Alpha.