Each and everyone can make a difference in the lives of people with Down syndrome! This past Saturday was an incredible example of dedicated advocates making a big difference for the Down syndrome community and the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS).
#TeamNDSS kicked off the day on the National Mall and participated in the #Race4Respect– a 5k to raise awareness for Down syndrome with over 700 runners. A huge thank you to Gena Mitchell for her leadership and dedication to making this important race a reality, and bringing Down syndrome awareness to the streets of our nation’s capital.
After #TeamNDSS crossed the finish line, it was time to race on up to Voorhees Township, New Jersey (after a shower, of course) for the 2nd Annual NDSS Luau hosted by our NDSS Board Member Christopher Brooks and the amazing, passionate Bonny Quinn-Brooks, and sponsored by Ace Cash. Saturday’s event was an incredible evening and a chance to celebrate so many champions and advocates in the Down syndrome community. Bonny works tireless throughout the year on this wonderful event and is an incredible advocate for their son, CJ, and all individuals with Down syndrome. On Saturday, Chris read a beautiful message from Bonny to our Luau guests and I thought I would share it:
“To each and every one of you here today, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Someone asked me earlier this week, “Bonny, why do you do the Luau?” So I felt that it was important for me to share with you exactly why this benefit for NDSS takes place. In February 2010, I, along with my entire family, went for our 20-week ultrasound to find out if the baby was going to be a Christina or a Christian. I was all decked out in blue, wanting my baby – “C.J.” The technician proceeded to do my ultrasound but then suddenly stopped, she escorted my kids out of the room and handed me a box of tissues. They told me there was something “wrong” with my baby and that he was going to be born with several issues and urged us to seek out a genetic specialist. We knew that no matter what, nothing was going to make us love CJ any less and on July 13, 2010, CJ, was born! So why do I do this? I host this benefit so that through raising money, advocating and spreading awareness, no other family has to endure what my family and I had to endure at our 20-week ultrasound, and that all families have access to the most up-to-date information about Down syndrome and the expectations for CJ (and all people with Down syndrome) are higher than ever, especially by doctors and the general public.”
Another huge thank you to Bonny, Chris, CJ and their entire family for all they do for NDSS and people with Down syndrome. In the last three years, the Brooks family along with Ace Cash has raised over $150,000 for people with Down syndrome, NDSS and our important mission.