"Sam's diagnosis was a complete surprise for us. There were no indications during his ultrasounds - his heart was healthy, there were no birth defects that would point toward Down syndrome, and he was growing fine. He was born at 40 weeks and 2 days and was 8lbs! Sam had to be born via C-Section as he went into fetal distress - his heart rate would drop very low during every contraction so they were very concerned about him, but once he was out all seemed well. It wasn't until the next day that some of the nurses began to suspect he may have Down Syndrome only due to some physical characteristics: upturned eyes, the gap between his toes, thick neck. We were floored. All I had were preconceived notions of Down syndrome and could see nothing of that in my little boy. During his newborn screen, they found that his oxygen was only at 85 percent so he was taken to the NICU. There they did his karyotyping and confirmed that he had Trisomy 21. Those first two weeks were rough. My husband and I went into the hospital thinking we were bringing home our baby that we had been envisioning for 9 months, and instead we had to leave him in the NICU and our heads were filled with anxiety and uncertainty about what his life, and our life, was going to be like. Sam has proved that a diagnosis doesn't make you who you are, even at only 8 months old. He has no heart defects, and aside from a little bit of reflux, he has no other medical complications. He is surprising everyone with his physicality and his strength. You can tell how badly he wants to do things and his determination is amazing. He has been going to physical and occupational therapy since he was 4 weeks old and has been surprising everyone he meets. He is such a happy and laid back baby, and he touches everyone he meets. His smile lights up his whole face and has so much joy. I strongly believe that he is going to do amazing things. The therapy helps, and we help him, but so much of what he can do is just pure Sam. He wants to do things, and he is going to do things, and he is going to continue to surprise people." 💙💛✨ @downwithsam #enableawareness#downsyndromeawareness#theluckyfew
Last Year's Thanksgiving #johnnytimelive still does the trick ☺️
Thank you to each and every one of you for your continued support. You make this One World, Special. Together, we create a movement that values inclusivity. We are unique yet united and stronger together. Johnny, thank you for enriching my life and many others' lives. You have the magical ability to spread love, light, and deuces since '89 (peep the deuces in the first picture 👀) through your smile, show, and presence. We cannot wait to see how far our message spreads and to collectively build the future group home from the ground up. 💙🌎💚
Around this time last year we got the news that Greyson may have DS. I didn't know then how incredibly grateful I would be for this absolutely perfect little. I wish I knew how much joy Thanksgiving 2017 would hold during Thanksgiving 2016. I would have never shed a single tear. Side note: These two can crack each other up all day 😍. Apparently, Greyson loves dad jokes 😂.
Meet Katie! Katie is part of our short film for @unitednations International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd. This is her story as shared by herself.
Katie is in 5th grade. I am one busy gal! I have taken therapeutic #horseback#riding for 4 years and just won a big #trophy at my first #competition in Lexington, VA! I am also involved in the @sparcrichmond School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community Live Art program in Richmond, where I take classes and perform on stage. I play basketball every winter for a team, and also love playing basketball with my family at home. I am an artist and an author, and love to draw and create books for people I love. I am also Michael Jackson's number one fan...I know all of his songs and am really good at doing his #dance moves!
Project: Just Like You: Why is important to be a part of this film?
Katie: I want people to know that my life is fun and exciting! Having Down syndrome has never stopped me from having a wonderful life full of friends and adventure happiness.
Project: Just Like You: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Katie: I want to be an #artist .
Katie, you sure do know how to break it down with Michael Jackson moves! And we cannot wait for everyone to see it! May nothing ever slow you down!
Katie is #JustLikeYou