Hazel’s Story

 

The instant I held my daughter, Hazel, in my arms I knew she had come to us with a little something extra. She had a story to tell, a lesson to teach. I admit that in the beginning we struggled with what we knew very little about. We were scared, confused and unsure. We felt alone. Hazel was our strength. Everyday over the last 5 years, we have learned more about love and acceptance than a lifetime of experiences could ever offer. We have become comfortable with difference, we have witnessed the determination to achieve and be independent, not only from watching Hazel, but from all our friends with the extra chromosome.

We have been so lucky to meet and become close with many other people with Down syndrome and their families in our community and around the globe. The one thing that remains consistent with all our friends with Down syndrome is just how capable, worthy and successful they all are in their own individual, unique way. Sharing this message and inspiration with others is one of the central reasons we started this foundation.

With the birth of our second daughter, Nola, the message of inclusion became even that much more clear. When we envisioned the kind of world she would be exposed to it always looked diverse. We knew that providing her with opportunities to meet and befriend children and people of all abilities would begin to shape her perception of our world and the kind of uniqueness that it’s comprised of. Acceptance has deep roots in familiarity, understanding and education and so we took our first steps down the path toward this foundation.