Saturday, October 2, 2010

DSAW Down syndrome awareness walk

Last Sunday was the Down syndrome awareness walk at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Missy-my best friend, my rock, my support, and so much more-organized a team for Charlotte. "Charlotte's Web" raised over $1500 for Down syndrome awareness, and had over 90 people walking for Charlotte. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all who participated. I gave out a letter at that walk that encompassed a lot of what I have been feeling the past few months. I have pasted it below, as well as some pictures-courtesy of Cassie Stock (thanks so much for helping Missy!!).

September 26, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

We want to express our gratitude to you today. Words cannot express the appreciation we feel towards everyone here, and wish that we could thank you all individually for raising money and awareness for individuals with Down syndrome.

Almost 4 months ago, when the doctor told us that Charlotte had Down syndrome, I had a hard time imagining our lives ever being the same. I was devastated, all the hopes and dreams I had for Charlotte seemed to fly out the window.

Today, I still feel that our lives have been forever changed, however, I am hopeful. I have spent the past 4 months researching, reading, talking and emailing other parents of children with Down syndrome, and most importantly enjoying my newborn. Some things I have learned:
  • Charlotte, and other children with Down syndrome, are more like “typical” children than they are different.
  • I cannot predict Charlotte’s potential and future, much in the same way that I cannot predict what Katherine and Will will be like. One day at a time.
  • People with Down syndrome can and do hold jobs, go to college, become successful, get married, form positive relationships…
  • Our hopes and dreams for Charlotte are not what is important, instead we must wait and see what her hopes and dreams are, and then encourage her to go after them.

Today is all about raising awareness for those with Down syndrome. A few months ago, I knew just a fraction of what I know today, and obviously my prospective on things has changed. I urge everyone here from now on, to concentrate on what a person can do, not what they can’t. See a person for who they are, and not what disability they may have. I look at my beautiful daughter, and I don’t see Down syndrome. I see a spunky, happy, smiley almost 4-month old with crazy hair! I cringe when people ask me if she is a “down’s baby.” I want to shout, NO! she isn’t a Down’s baby, she is a baby that happens to have Down syndrome. Down syndrome is only a tiny portion of who she is, one tiny little chromosome should not define a person.

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you! A special thanks to Missy, my “rock” through all of this, for organizing everything today. We are so lucky to be surrounded by so many people that love and care for Charlotte, and for us.


Emily, Mike, Katherine, Will, & Charlotte

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