Tuesday, August 21, 2007

35th National Down Syndrome Congress

The first weekend of August my wife and I attended the our first National Down Syndrome Conference.
The 35th Annual National Down Syndrome Congress was held in Kansas City, MO.
It was awesome.
Aprox 2500 family Members/Advocates and Self Advocates attended.
Amazingly encouraging.
Well, it was nice to get away without the kids. Our 11th anniversary was the following weekend, so we kind of made it an anniversary getaway.
It was encouraging to see so many families and their loved ones with Down Syndrome all at one venue. They kept referring to each other as "Family", IE the Down Syndrome Family and it indeed felt like that.
Tulsa has a GREAT Down Syndrome support community D.S.A.T. (Down Syndrome Association of Tulsa), but seeing so many from so many areas of the country was a big boost.
I'd say the biggest thing I walked away with was that we sell our son too short.
We've always said that we expect a lot out of him. We believe that he has more potential than sitting in a corner with his tongue hanging out scribbling in a coloring book his whole life.
We've felt that he would be one who'd be out there cleaning tables at Taco Bell and such.
Screw THAT!
We've sold him short!
There are those with Down Syndrome with Associates Degrees!!
Those with Down Syndrome doing amazing things!
-Teaching Martial Arts-
-Theatrical Performance-
and more.
The Self Advocate that got me pumped the most was Karen Gaffney.
Stink'n AMAZING speaker. She was a better speaker than most "Normal" people I've seen speak. I'm not even exaggerating.


Karen Gaffney, self-advocate, long distance swimmer is about to cross Lake Tahoe.

The hard way.

On September 25, 2007, Karen will swim the 12 miles across Lake Tahoe, all to raise funds for the National Down Syndrome Congress.

Karen is best known for being the first person with Down syndrome to complete a relay swim across the English Channel. Now, to raise funds for the National Down Syndrome Congress, Karen will attempt to swim across Lake Tahoe!

The target date for the swim is Tuesday, September 25th, weather permitting. Karen will have Wednesday, the 26th and Thursday the 27th as back up days if she needs them.

Since her Channel Swim, Karen has kept up her string of “Firsts”. She has completed seven swims across San Francisco Bay while preparing for and competing in the “Escape From Alcatraz” relay triathlons that includes the 1.5 mile swim from Alcatraz to the St. Francis Yacht Club. She completed the “ Round the Rock”swim – round trip swim from Aquatic Park, to Alcatraz Island, around the Island and back to the park – about a 4 mile swim Karen completed in 2 hours and 15 minutes!

Karen regularly swims 2 miles a day, and she will step that up in preparation for her Tahoe swim. She will swim the length of Donner Lake, near Lake Tahoe, in a Masters swim event on August 11th, a 2.7 mile swim. She will make the attempt on Lake Tahoe after spending a couple of weeks swimming in the Tahoe area, getting acclimated to the elevation. Karen says “I want to show others that people like me can accomplish anything they put their heart to!”


My little Self Advocate (Who will be 3 in October) will start school tomorrow.
A Special School here in Tulsa called The Little Light House.
It's as school totally supported by donations that has an international reputation and proven results. We are so excited to see his potential realized through the resources we have here in Tulsa.
Not to mention all of the little sibling therapists that love him and teach him each and every day.

We Pray this over our little Self Advocate:

"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." -Philippians 1:6

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