Saturday, September 21, 2013

First Downs for Down Syndrome

On October 26, the Kautzi's will be joining thousands of other friends and families of people with Down syndrome for the First Downs for Down Syndrome walk.  The walk supports the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City.  The DSG is a wonderful resource to families in the Kansas City area.  They provides education and support for families who have children with Down syndrome.   One of the things we love about the DSG is that they work to educate parents about the realities of Down syndrome.  Yes, it's a scary diagnosis because of the many health concerns a child might face, but it is also a great gift.  

In my experience, most people have very limited exposure to people with Down syndrome and therefore there is a lot of misunderstanding and fear associated with the diagnosis.  When a local family receives the diagnosis of Down syndrome, one of the first things the hospital does is make a call to the DSG and someone from the DSG then makes a personal visit to the family with a gift basket and the offer of support and an awesome community.  The DSG helps families balance their grief and fear with the realities of the joys ahead of them.  For that we are proud to partner with them! 

One of the big reasons we adopted Faith was my experience of growing up with my friend Kirby, who also has Down syndrome.  The exposure to Kirby's life and the joy of her friendship shaped my perspective on Down syndrome and other special needs.  One of our hopes for Faith's life is that she would be someone's "Kirby"!  I hope that her life changes the perspectives of the people who know her - that they wouldn't see Down syndrome and other special needs purely as disabilities, but as gifts to our lives.  I want people to see that she's more than her extra chromosome - she is a perfectly and wonderfully made person whose unique DNA brings something extra special to the world.  Maybe someone we know will give birth to a child with Down syndrome and because they know Faith, the diagnosis won't be quite as scary and traumatic.  Or maybe someday one of Faith's friends will grow up and adopt a child with Down syndrome!  We are thrilled to be a part of supporting the Down Syndrome Guild as they support families who are lucky enough to have Down syndrome grace their lives!  

Would you consider joining us?  There are two ways you can be a part of the walk:

1. Donate to our team.  Our goal is to raise $1000.  We have a mini goal of raising $500 by Faith's birthday next Saturday!  Please think about donating to our team - consider it a birthday gift for our sweet girl!
*For every donation of any amount, I'll enter into a drawing to win daily prizes (Monday-Friday) this week.

2. Join us on Saturday October 26.  We'd love to have you participate in the walk with us!  I'm told it's less of a "walk" and more of a parade and carnival with fun stuff for kids.  The walk is at Arrowhead Stadium from 9am-1pm.

Click here for our personal fundraising page.

Here's a little blurb from the DSG:
Are you Ready to Step Up for Down Syndrome? Did you know that each year 5,000 babies are born with Down syndrome and that there are over 400,000 individuals living with Down syndrome in the United States?

The Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City (DSG) serves over 1,200 families and partners with 22 hospitals, 45 school districts and countless service providers in Kansas and Missouri. We invite you to Step Up and support our members and the work of the DSG by participating in one of the largest celebrations for Down syndrome in the nation. Our 2012 walk was a smashing success thanks to 345 teams, 8,776 walkers and 400 volunteers!  Will you be there to help us cross the finish line this year?

Your participation in the walk shows you support inclusion and acceptance for people with Down syndrome and recognize their many gifts, talents and contributions to society. We envision a bright future with your help.

Each step you take and every dollar you raise will help the DSG continue to provide vital programs and services offering educational and social support to people with Down syndrome, their families and the professionals who serve them. Important work waits to be done to enhance research, education and advocacy programs.
Your support is critical in making these programs a reality.

What difference can you make by Stepping Up?

* When you raise $100 you help DSG provide two families with hospital meal vouchers during extended hospital stays.
* When you raise $200 you help DSG provide a family experiencing a new diagnosis a welcome basket full of gifts and resources on Down syndrome.
* When you raise $250 you help DSG host a quarterly social activity for teens and adults with Down syndrome.
* When you raise $500 you help DSG host a quarterly support breakfast for parents and grandparents.
* When you raise $750 you help DSG provide conference scholarships to educators and professionals who support individuals with Down syndrome.
* When you raise $1000 you help DSG publish an issue of our award winning Connections Newsletter.

View DSG's Programs & Services Brochure2012 Annual Report and organizational video to learn more about how the funds you raise are used to improve the lives of people with Down syndrome.
We thank you for your generous support of Faith's Fans and look forward to seeing you Saturday, October 26, 2013 at the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk & Festival!

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