Candace comes from a big family; 11 children to be exact. The youngest child was born with Down syndrome. Candace shares her special relationship with Angelita and how she has impacted her family and life for good.
Denise shares how her son, Matt, who is on the autism spectrum inspired her to create two amazing companies that strive to better the lives of people with disabilities.
Katherine has a sister she never knew existed until she was 12 years old. A sister, who is profoundly disabled was placed in an institution as a young child. Katherine reconnected with her and has become her guardian.
As soon as the neurologist saw Elie, he knew she had a serious condition and soon after diagnosed Elie with infantile spasms, which is considered a medically catastrophic seizure disorder. “It was heartbreaking,” Eric said. “I remember thinking that I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to expect. It was a whole road that we couldn’t see in front of us.”
Jessica and Johnathan were shocked and relieved to receive a diagnosis for their son Trenton. Jessica struggled for years to find a doctor who would help her. Her journey in advocacy led her to start a nonprofit organization called Collaborative Corner for Exceptional Children. A company dedicated to helping parents find resources and become advocates for their children with disabilities.
All Maria wanted was to be able to get the chance to tell Serenity how much she was loved. She said, “I just prayed and I asked God if he could just give me fifteen minutes to love her. To tell her how much I loved her.
Rocky admits that at first he had worries and concerns about raising a child with special needs, but these concerns quickly dissolved. He tells us “The joy that comes when you sacrifice for other people and other things…It helps you to focus on the things that really matter in this life and to take joy in the simple things that we often take for granted.”
Stacy said that her daughters have been a blessing from the beginning but that she had to adjust her thinking to a different path than what she had expected. Now they are just “Sydney and Logan. Stacy tells us, “They are actually easier to raise than my other two daughters who are non-delayed.” Despite the challenges they know it is worth it. “Everyone has problems, you just have to adjust…They are worth it. I wouldn’t give up anything. I love coming home…,” said Terry. He loves that his twin daughters still live at home and he gets about 20 hugs a day from them.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers and her husband Brian Rodgers found out their son Cole had Down syndrome at his birth. “It was tough. The doctors laid out a lot of things and it was very difficult. The fear of the unknown is what is overwhelming in that moment. Go talk to other people, don’t make an isolated decision. Educate yourself, I remember when we go the news about Cole, that so much of it was focused on the negative. It was focused on what health issues he may have or other challenges. Rather than really being told what the potential was.”
Jessica is a single mom and the parent of two boys, Britton and Chewy. Britton was born at 28 weeks gestation weighing only two pounds and 14 ounces. He is 13 years old now and has had many health challenges, including a stroke and brain bleed which has resulted in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
They told us they thought he had a form of dwarfism based on his femur length. His femurs are shortened and curved, which is a marker for other conditions. At 32 weeks we got the results back that it was Osteogenesis Imperfecta- also known as brittle bones.