I just want to say to all of my friends, family Happy Thanksgiving. I want to express my many thanks for everything that I have. I am very thankful for shelter, food, friends, family, clothes. I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday and enjoy your time with your family. My family means a lot to me.
In December I will be finishing up with school, I have been doing really well. I love this class. I am participating in the polar plunge again this year and will be plunging for Special Olympics on December 4th.
I will be on Bridge Street Live to talk about the Polar Plunge and helping out at Buffalo Wild Wings for a fundraiser for the plunge while my parents are the celebrity bartenders on December 2nd, that should be fun, maybe I will be able to help behind the bar also, now that would be cool!
I was nominated by Gigi’s Playhouse for the 40 under 40 Leaders that Rock in Central New York. I was chosen as one of the 40 out of over 100 nominations. They had a luncheon ceremony where I received my award on November 16th. I went to the Oncenter early and I got to talk and mingle with everyone and was passing out my business cards. I used the photo booth and got put in toward the raffles. My mom and dad bought a table and I had family, Aunt Melanie and Aunt Mickie and friends, Emily, Susan, Jack and Gerry and Ernie sitting with us. I thought my cousin Tom wasn’t going to make it, my parents knew but didn’t tell me so it was a surprise when he came. I was so glad he did. Matt, Christina and Lisa from Gigi’s were at the table next to us. They had an emcee and they wanted all the winners to come on stage and sit alpbetically, as they called us up to receive our award. I recevied mine and got tons of pictures taken. I was in a huge group photo with the honorees. It was so nice, I received flowers and gifts. Oh and they did the raffles at the end and I won the biggest raffle, 2 tickets to a Buffalo Bills game in December. I really loved it. I had a great time and had a huge blast.
Congressman Katko was up for re-election this year and was running for the office against Colleen Deacon for the seat of the 24th district. I have been working on his campaign this year. I marched in parades with him and started volunteering at the campaign office. I made phone calls to try and get him reelected. My parents also volunteered making calls. On Election night, my parents and I went to the Sheraton University hotel to watch the polls. It was way cool being there and watching him win. We were waiting for him to take the podium to make his speech, it seemed like it was taking a long time and finally we heard he was stuck in the elevator. They had to call the fire department to come and get them out. He gave a great speech and it was quite the party. This was the first time I went to one of these and it was pretty interesting especially during a presidential election. I plan to be there every time the Congressman gets elected!!
On October 5th I was scheduled to do a speech at Doctor Fenlon ‘s class. I spoke to future teachers and told them about my abilities and what i have accomplished in my life and showed them a video.
It is important to let future teacher’s know not to underestimate our abilities, work with us hand’s on and we will get it, it just might take us longer. If my talks to future teacher’s helps one student I am happy, if it helps more than that and that would be awesome.
At the end I took questions and so did my parents.
I got a really nice gift card from the professor and took a nice big group picture. I’ve gotten so many nice emails from the student’s in the class, I love it.
I love speaking because I can get the word out there and educate others and this is a perfect month to do it because October is Down Syndrome Awareness month!
The month of October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. We like to celebrate the awareness of Down syndrome and to let everyone know our abilities and to let them know that we are pretty much capable of doing anything we set our minds to.
I would like everyone to call us Differently Abled as opposed to retarded (hate that word) or handicapped (almost as bad) or Intellectual Developmental Disability (sounds like Science to me) because I think every one of us is Differently Abled in some way, say you can’t cook and my mother can, or you can’t drive a car and I can, or you can go to college and oh yeah I can too but maybe someone else can’t but they can do something else that you or I wouldn’t be able to.
We have the same wants and dreams as everyone else. We can do anything anyone else can do. We are MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT I can drive, go to college, hold down a job and intern at the Congressman ‘s office. I have a boyfriend. My friends that are Differently Abled do many other things equally as well, my friend Johnny is self taught and plays the Bagpipes, my friend Byron can sing like nobody’s business, my friend Carrie is a Zumba instructor, the point is, don’t squash our dreams. We all have the same abilities as everyone else, we may take longer to do them, but that is more than okay. We just try our best and our hardest. That’s what we want everyone to know
On September 28th our Down Syndrome Association of CNY had our annual Buddy walk. It was a two mile walk to show our support for Down syndrome awareness.
Back in April when I was at the National Down Syndrome Buddy Walk on Washington, one of our asks was to try and get our Congressman to come to our local walk. I asked Congressman Katko and he came. It was pretty cool though because I got to introduce him. I was going to give him some space to go and meet everyone but he made me walk along with him. I introduced him to people I knew and he also introduced himself to many others.
Our walk was catered lunch by of Pensabene’s Casa Grande, we had games for all of the kids, and raffles. The band that played was called Wicked Awesome. Many of my friends and family come to support me and my friends with Down Syndrome, which means a lot to all of us. We want everyone to know that Down Syndrome is not a sad diagnosis!!
Labor day weekend was a Skaneateles fall fest and Congressman John Katko and I were texting and he wanted me to accompany him in the parade. The band the Mere Mortals were playing and I got to dance the entire time. I was definitely happy to walk with my boss that day. We hung out with a bunch of friends and it was a great time.
I will be playing bocce at Italianfest in Syracuse taking place in front of City Hall downtown on Friday night Sept 16th. My Aunt Mel Uncle Steven and Ernie are coming out to watch and will be cheerleaders. I love it when my family comes out to watch us play. I will be playing with my friends Mark Galvagno, Johnny Renzi and Megan O’Hara against the referee’s after they judge the dignitaries games. We play them every year and have a ball and then get we to eat some yummy Italian food. I look forward to it each year!
I have my first test for my class on Tuesday September 20th so I will be studying this weekend. So far I’m doing well I got a 50 out of 50 on one of my papers. I love college and can’t wait to add some more credits toward my Associated degree!
On September 21st I will be going on Bridge Street Live to talk about the DSA of CNY Buddy Walk coming up on the 25th of September. Me and my dad are going to be on so tune in at 10:00 on channel 9 and watch the segment. That night I am going to present in Liverpool High School at 5:30 and share my story with Dr. Fenlon and her class. Her class is made of future teachers, it is a college class held at the high school.
I have some awesome stuff happening to me. Gigi’s Playhouse nominated me for the one of the 40 under 40 Leaders Who Rock in CNY. Gigi’s contacted me when I was at the Fair working to tell me I was selected as one of the 40. I couldn’t believe it, it is such an honor and I am so grateful to them. In November I am going to be receiving an award during the luncheon at the Oncenter in Syracuse. I am so over the moon excited.
I went to Special Olympics bocce competition last Saturday on the 10th of September and played two games back to back lost the first game but won the second and came home with the bronze medal. That was definitely sweet. I was happy and confident. It was pretty cool because we had 5 teams and all of got a medal, sweet!
This year Gigi’s Playhouse had a table at the State Fair. I worked just about every day except for two days which was not bad. We were there to raise awareness for Down Syndrome and let everyone know about all of the Gigi’s Playhouses especially the one in Syracuse where I work. I had people come visit me like my cousin Tom McKeown, my aunt and uncle, and my other cousins. Senator John DeFrancisco and Wendy Long stopped by. That one was too awesome because they came to my table with the News Crew from Channel 10 and I was on TV with them. That was really cool, Congressman John Katko stopped over to see me twice, I missed him once. Amy Allyn and her husband Dave came over. My mom and dad worked with me one day each and I also worked with my two mentors Emily and Deanna. They were a great help. I loved that everyone came to see me because we posted what my hours were the night before on Facebook. Some people that stopped at the table said that I have seen you on Bridge Street Live and on other things on TV. That was sweet. I also took plenty of selfies to post to Facebook, it was fun and we spread a lot of awareness.
On August 27th my cousin Kara got married to a wonderful guy named Tom Hayes and I am super happy for her. She asked me to apart of her really special day. She wanted me to be an Eucharistic minister and give out communion. I felt super excited about the whole thing. The wedding was at Holy Family and the reception was out on Owasco Lake, close to where I go to camp and it was themed Country and BBQ. It was a great wedding. I did dance the entire night and had a fun time.