I was asked to speak at Syracuse University Special Olympic club on March 4th, On the End the “R” word and bullying. My parents and I went . Nick the intern introduced me and took care of my video. I talked about how I was bullied, called the R word and how much it hurts when people casusally use the word. I talked about my abilites and how I can do what they do it just may take me longer. The audience was great, many of them came up and talked, and some videoed me, I even autographed a hoodie for someone.
A reporter from the Daily Orange talked to me and a photographer from there also took pictures. They told me an article would be in the paper the next day. It was and it was so awesome. My parents posted it on Face Book and it got lots of likes and comments, Cool! Another thing 3 people, Derrick, Corinna, and Ashley asked if they could do a documentary of me for their class so they came over on St. Patricks Day and interviewed me and did a video. They were very nice and I can’t wait to see the finished production!
March 7th was our I have a voice 3rd annual Gala for Gigi’s Playhouse Syracuse, where I am the Assistant Site Coordinator. It was at the Doubletree Hotel. My mom and I went earlier to help set up. It included dinner, dancing and music. They played a couple of video’s. I was interviewed in one about what Gigi’s means to me. They had speakers, Bill, and Amy and they were good. The keynote speaker was Dr. Brian Skotko and he told some funny stories. We sat at a table with a good group of people, Matt and Pam Dwyer and some other people from David’s Refuge. They were really nice.
There was a silent and live auction. I think we made a lot of money for the playhouse. I had a blast!
I have been doing well in my Math class at Onondaga Community College, My professor Jason said I have a 100 in the class. A couple of weeks ago I had a test, I got a 99 and then because of the bonus work I have done, he brought it up to a 101. That is the highest grade I have ever received in college so far and I love it.
On March 10th I did a presentation at Pomeroy school of Nursing. I had been asked to speak by Mary Jo, the instructor on previous occasions. I was scheduled for that day and when she saw the article from the Daily Orange, she asked me to touch on Bullying and the R word in addition to my regular presentation. When I speak to the nurses I tell them to congraulate new parents, they are the first people they will see and can make the birth experience a happy memory for these familes. I am proof of a sick baby that has done well, it is not a sad diagnoisis. I love changing peoples idea of Down Syndrome.
March 14th was the Hillsborough New Jersey Gigi’s Playhouse 1st annual Gala. I was asked to be their Keynote speaker, what a honor! We had about a four hour drive to New Jersey. We Left after Mom and I got our hair done that morning. Gigi’s gave us a room right at the Heldrich hotel where the Gala was being held. When I say room, they really gave us a big and beautiful suite. There was a lso a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a Hillsborough mug and a nice Starbucks gift card for me when we got there. It was so nice of them.
We stopped in where they were setting up when we got there and met Carolyn and Liz before we went up to the room. I was looking very forward to meeting a lot of new people. Everyone was so very nice.
We hung out in our room for awhile until it was time to get ready. My Mom did my make up and it just came out so pretty. We got dressed and went down to cocktail hour at the Gala. They also had live and silent auctions and it was fun watching everything go. My mom bid and won a auction for a cool Vera Bradley bag and gift card that she got a very pretty bracelet with. I did my speech right after dinner. I got so many compliments, sometimes I had to stop for claps and then got a standing ovation at the end. People were coming up to me and saying how well the speech went and how perfect the message was. That was awesome.
Afterward a priest was sitting at our table his name was Father Hank Hilton, he noticed my picture in the program and asked if it was me. I told him yes. He then said he was involved with LeMoyne college, he is on the Board of Trustees. He got there after my speech but said he would come and visit me at Gigi’s Playhouse next time he came to Syracuse, he comes about four times a year. We sat with a great group at our table, they made us feel so welcome. Lauren was there with with her mother and husband and they have a daughter with Down Syndrome who has a twin brother and another boy. Carol was there with her husband and a son Jason who is 40 and happens to have Down Syndrome.
Father Hank asked me to dance, he had some pretty good moves out there spinning and twirling me around, then two others cut in and I danced all night. I danced with my Mom and the New Jersey Playhouses volunteers Rosario, Cole and Dylan and a bunch of ladies. I had a blast. I never sat down WOW! It was such a nice time. I am so grateful Erin McKinney Morris asked me to speak, it was such a great experience and so much fun.
March 21st, World Down Syndrome Day. It is a day to celebrate people with Down Syndrome like me! We raised awareness of Down Syndrome, We do it on 3/21 because it is an extra chromosone in our body. It is the 3rd copy of the 21st Chromosone. There were celebrations all over the world. In New York Citty they lit up the Empire State Building with blue and yellow lights . Other cities did the same on other buildings. Gigi’s held a party at Destiny mall, restaurants gave 21% to Gigi’s, we had raffles (didn’t win any, boo hoo) and Crossfit came and did their work out of the day for us.
I drove to work yesterday. I do it a lot for practice but yesterday was the first time in awhile because of all the snow. I felt pretty good about it because it was World Down Syndrome Day and I was driving and I go to college and I can do anything I set my mind to. I have Down Syndrome and I am very proud to have it. I would not change one thing about my life. I love my life.