Category Archives: Down Syndrome

My Challenge: Mardra


I would like to introduce you to Madrathe mother of a wonderful man who has Down Syndrome. I believe every parent of a child with special needs has the same challenge. 


My Challenge: I am afraid of monsters.

As long as I can remember, I have known that a monster is not the lifelike replication of a furry puppet. I’ve also never really been afraid of Frankenstein or Dracula style monsters, fantasies that were created to emulate the human condition, but in and of themselves began as a figment of a writer’s imagination. 

No, as a young girl and still today my fear of monsters is much more palpable, cynical and real.The opportunity to see and read stories of the monsters that walk among us are everywhere and every day. 

The news is filled with them.  One example that recently crushed me involved high school boys acting monstrously towards two of their innocent and more vulnerable peers. My stomach turns now and hollows; my heart pains as it beats living with the long minutes of rape, exploitation, jeering and confusion. I type through the tears for the parents of the victims, the anger they must feel, the shame, the fear…

I scold myself. I shouldn’t have read the article. The headline told me all I didn’t want to hear or believe. 

What am I supposed to do with these images, at once swimming among and drowning my own thoughts? This being one of the many examples of monsters that look like normal human beings, living among us. And they are everywhere. Both in power and searching for power. On the streets and online. In my imagination and in real life. They have always been and always will be.

For the first 21 years of my son’s life, we lived in our own shell. I went to work and home and kept a close circle of friends. Marcus went to a private school where I felt he was most safe while learning and growing. From the first days of his life I feared that his facial features would make him easily preyed upon; I felt compelled to focus on preventing the possibility of any ill-intentioned creatures causing him harm.

The word overprotective has been lobbed in my direction and that too carries its own weight of parental guilt and consequences.

Less than two years ago I decided to put in a window to our closed off life. I finally embraced the 21st century and Marcus and I claimed our own little corner of the World Wide Web. We launched Grown Ups and Downs, with much thought, trepidation, and coffee.

So far, we are a very small clan and don’t attract much attention from monsters. But I know they are there. And, that is part of why we are there, too.  A song I often refer to for courage is “Hands” by Jewel: For light does the darkness most fear.



I don’t have a great arsenal of defenses against potential monsters. I don’t have a superhero shield or a sword of steel. All I have are two things: language and love. Marcus inspires me every day by sharing his stories and his humor. He gives me his love unconditionally and he accepts me when I am curled up and hiding under the blankets. He reminds me when I rant that, “No one is perfect, Mom.”

Monsters feed themselves lies and vomit it upon others. Monsters are even afraid of other monsters, which is why they huddle in packs, and commonly use whatever means available to dull their human senses.

The days when fear pulls on my shirttail and coaxes me to hide, Marcus shows me how his light can shine and warm others who may also be afraid. He tells me dreams the monsters could not believe, and we climb towards those dreams.

I know the monsters’ presence will grow with us and there are days they strike. There will continue to be days the when monsters touch both those I do and do not know and leave me bruised and shaken in their wake as well.

I do not foresee a day when I won’t be afraid of monsters. And monsters, true monsters, will not be changed.

But others, those who are looking for kindness, reasons for optimism and good news. Those who are looking to learn and have opened their minds to a spectrum of human possibility, it is for them that Marcus’ light shines the truths of love and life’s potential. His enthusiasm and ambitions take a little bit of power and energy from the darkness monsters feed upon: ignorance, fear, and misunderstanding. It is with Marcus by my side that we aim to show from our little corner of the world a life of innocence, of ambitions, of love, and try to shine brighter yet these things into the world. These are the only weapons we have and we wield them with hope.
In the end, only kindness matters…
 
Marcus and his mom Mardra

***************** 

When Mardra sent me her Challenge I immediately thought of Robert Sayler. Then the horrific parody of the ALS Challenge was done to a young autistic man. Yes, cruelty happens, but when your child is unable to communicate, when their very being is something that can be preyed upon you live with another fear. I send Abby to school every day knowing she could be bullied, targeted and hurt. Yet I know I have provided the tools she needs to alert myself, her father or a trusted adult to keep her as safe as possible. David teachers her self-defense and drills into her the need to be aware of her surroundings. Yet, I know with all the tools we give her a Sandy Hook, a 9/11 or a Boston Marathon could happen. Or worse.


With Boo the fears are different. Boo cannot tell me what happened. For example last week she fell and scuffed her knee. She told me her therapist at school “pushed slide”. I knew that probably didn’t happen. When I asked her therapist the next morning, I said Boo said you pushed her off the slide. David was there and said no, I was walking her to the car and she tripped! We all had a chuckle over it. Boo bruises easily, she is always getting a bump or scratch. Recently she had one on her back. It turns out Abby dropped her. No biggie, but reading Mardra’s challenge reminds me that some day it might be. That Boo needs the language because one day it could be her that some high school bully pranks with a bucket of feces. Or worse. If you have time, check out Mardra’s article on the Huffington Post. It’s not just the monsters out there, it’s the people who say our children need to be hidden. 

You can find Mardra and Marcus on the Grown Ups and Downs Blog, Facebook & Twitter.

What's your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby's school. I am amazed at how honest and hopeful the challenges have been. Thank you to all who have contributed. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at firebailey@gmail.com

Knowledge is just as important as inclusion

Boo is in an integrated preschool. A school where for every child that has a disability there is one typical child. The disabilities range from autism to ADHD to Down Syndrome to Cerebral Palsy to Boo. At a quick glance at the class you might not be able to tell which child is typical and which child is brilliant.

Which is the whole point of the program.

Okay maybe it isn’t the whole point. However the point could be made that by exposing our children to typical will allow them to grow social skills that come naturally to their peers. The peers learn empathy, patience and that not everyone is the same.

All good, right?

Except the other day when it wasn’t. 

My friend was walking into school with her child. Behind her another mother was walking in with their own. She heard from behind her, “who’s that”? 

The child replied, That is X. He doesn’t talk.

Instead of letting it go or saying something….ANYTHING positive the mother was heard shushing her and saying “that’s not nice”.

Here is the thing. What the girl said wasn’t wrong. It wasn’t mean. It wasn’t “not nice”. It was true. Kind of. X can talk. But he has autism so you have to be looking at him and engage him for him to talk back to you.

X’s mom left feeling like her son was weird. Like he is misunderstood. This one place in the universe (outside his home) was supposed to be the safe place for us. A place where our child is accepted for who they are.


I adore Boo’s program. I love each and every one of her teachers and therapists. But I worry they might be missing an important component. I understand privacy laws and all that crap. However the typical children should be made aware (in words they understand) why X doesn’t talk to them. Why Boo doesn’t play appropriately with them. Why oh why in words a young child understand all children are not the same.

That all children, typical and brilliant are all special in their own way.

I am sure they do teach it. But the other day the lesson was lost and a mom went home feeling her son was weird. I think there needs to be more done. More parent teaching. Yes, I know we cannot get parents to come to a PTA meeting who can we get them to an inclusion training? 

There is an answer somewhere. It starts with the letting the children teach the parents. It doesn’t stop at an integrated preschool but an integrated school environment. One where every day there is a brief moment of education of those with challenges.  Awareness helps but until you ask you do not know, so you guess. It’s perfectly normal. Being aware is knowing autism exists. Being knowledgeable is knowing what autism is. We need to let inclusion bring more than awareness but knowledge.

If we can not let a 5 year-old ask the question, how can the 18 year-old know? 

TBT–Dear Ann

It’s Throw-back Thursday. A day to revisit an older blog post. This one is from when I a was a tad, um, infuriated with a celebrity.



Originally posted 23-OCT-2012

Dear Ann,

May I call you Ann? I feel we can be informal since you feel so comfortable insulting my child. I mean, really, only family should be able to make us think that we are not good enough. On the other hand….

You, MS. COULTER, are not my family. You are not of my world, my life, my heart.

Because you, Ms. Coulter, from your bully pulpit are comfortable enough behind the camera. But have you ever had to face the affect of your insults and disparaging remarks? When you attack public figures, I usually give you some leeway. After all, they are grown-ups who have had to develop a thick skin in order to navigate life in the public eye.

But my child? My child, Ms. Coulter, does not and should not ever be the brunt of your pitiful attacks. Neither has her sister. A sister who knows that calling some one a retard is wrong but not why. You, Ms. Coulter, do not have to explain to your 9-year old that her sister is not retarded but intellectually disabled.

You see, Ms. Coulter, in your complete and utter ignorance, do not realize that when you call our President a retard (which by the way, should be treasonous no matter what your political leanings) you are not insulting him. You are, in fact, insulting the estimated 2.5 million US citizens you do not even acknowledge.

That is the sad truth, isn’t it Ms. Coulter? You do not SEE those who are intellectually disabled. You only see your own agenda and how to get your name in the headlines. Doing it by insulting my daughter and others like her, that is heinous.   

I know the arguments for using the word retard. I have this discussion with friends and family members. I am from the generation where you could call some one “gay” but not mean homosexual. I am from the generation where retard was an insult you called your friends in a lighthearted manner.

But, unlike you, Ms. Coulter, I grew up. And unlike you, I am lucky to have an intellectually disabled child who only knows love. But some day, unfortunately she and her sister will come into contact with some one like you. I fear that day. I fear the day when some one looks at my daughter and sees a RETARD and not a beautiful girl. 

I ask you, Ms. Coulter to look at this face:



and tell her sister that her beloved sister is retard. Because that is what you did when you thought you were insulting the President of the United States of America. 

From a mom who knows better,
Kerri

TBT–Out of the Mouths of Babes

Welcome to Throw Back Thursday, blog style. 



(Originally posted 18-JUL-2012)

Abby is taking some summer help in math at a local school. This morning when I dropped Abby off she was telling me about the kids in her class. Some were from her current class and others she didn’t know. Abby said that there was only one other girl, a bunch of boys and one weird boy.


Weird boy, I asked, do you mean the boy with Down syndrome?

          What’s that? Abby replied.

Well he is special needs, like Boo, I explained
Oh, is that why he has a teacher just for him in the class? (Yup) That makes sense now. I thought there was something different but couldn’t figure it out. Why didn’t they tell me so I could help him?


This conversation floored me on many levels. First, Abby has intuitively known that there is something special about Boo and has accepted her without conditions. I automatically assumed that she would recognize and accept it in another child. Second, Abby attends enough of Boo’s therapy appointments to see other children like this boy. I was completely astounded that she even had to ask, or worse in her mind label this boy as “weird”.


Abby has been a staunch defender of Boo. She would never let one of her friends use that term with her sister, so why did she do it with a boy she just met? Have I failed in some way in to prepare and nurture her to accept all others like she does Boo?


Of course, I asked Abby. Not that specifically, but why she did she not understand that this boy was special. She thought because he was so big and not little like Boo he was just a boy.   I asked (just to make sure) that she hadn’t made fun of this boy. She was quick to say no, but that she wished that the teacher had told her because the other boys in the class did. Abby was so cute, telling me that she would make sure it didn’t happen again! We had a long talk about Boo and how would Abby feel if one of her classmates called Boo “weird”.


But it made me think, is inclusion working? Are the teachers and other parents explaining to their children that not all children can run, read, speak like others. Whose responsibility is it really? Mine, in some way because while I can educate/prepare Abby and she can then teach her peers. But neither Abby, her dad or I can go into Boo’s class and wake up the other children/parents. I can only be responsible for the children who interact with Boo in my presence.


Is it the teacher’s responsibility? Certainty, but how can they do this without embarrassing (not the right word, but hopefully you get my point!) the child in question. Abby thought the teacher should have let the kids know. But by privacy laws, they cannot.
I think the biggest obstacle is that the other parents are not on the playground or in the classroom with their children. So they might not even be aware, like me, that their child may be prejudging some one. Think about it, if you do not have a special child would you think to educate your ‘typical’ child about a child with Downs, CP, and autism or like Boo one who is undiagnosed? I will admit that before Boo I cannot honestly say I would have said something to Abby until she asked/made a comment in my presence.

I think as children get older they may become more aware (and yes, mean). But at Abby’s age it is just a sense of innocence where they don’t really notice differences in others until the difference is glaringly obvious.

Boo is in an integrated preschool with a not so equal ratio of special/typical kiddos. Even there I notice that some parents look at us askew when Boo is not participating like their ‘typical’ kid in the class. Once a child asked their mom what was wrong with Boo and the mother, instead of educating, told the child to ‘hush’.


So I don’t know what the answer is, if integration is worth it or how to educate the world at large that Boo just has a different sense of typical.

My Challenge: Jessica



I introduced you to my friend “J” about two years ago. She was Boo’s Yogi before life got too crazy to keep up with it. I am happy to officially introduce Jessica, the mother of four beautiful daughters. She practices and teaches Yoga for the Special Child. In her “spare” time she organizes The South Shore Buddy Walk  and Co-Founded a non-profit Heart Beats for Down Syndrome

Her challenge?

My Challenge: Being Present

All of my life I have always looked to the future, planning and making lists, trying to be older. I used to sign up for things in magazines so I could get mail (at age 10). I couldn’t wait for responsibilities and bills and being an adult. I didn’t have to wait long. At seventeen, I became a mom, and not just a typical teen mom-but a teen mom to a baby girl with Down Syndrome.  This is not my challenge. As I write this, it’s nine years, four more daughters and plenty of bills later, and my challenge has nothing to do with the circumstances of my life. The responsibilities I always wanted are in abundance, and can be overwhelming and stressful. There are lots of things in my life that are challenging, but not internally, causing damage to my spirit. My biggest challenge is that I struggle to be present, to truly live in the moment.
I set my intention for this summer to be present, to be grateful for each moment, whether they are good or bad.  Not even two weeks in, I find myself at 8am counting the hours until bedtime. I spend so much time planning and rushing for the future: bedtime, back to school, vacation, that I am unable to be happy in the present. I have a history of anxiety and depression, and looking to the future has always been a coping mechanism for me. It has served its purpose, and I have better techniques now that I can use to get through rough patches. Unfortunately, as the saying goes: Old habits are hard to break.  By looking to the future, and planning, and making lists, I am depleting so much joy that is found in sitting back and watching my girls grow up and explore their world. Sure, I can get so much done when they are playing outside and doing crafts, but I lose out on seeing what interests them and how they accomplish things. I miss out on bonding and teachable moments by choosing to write lists instead of coloring and penciling in playtime rather then always making time for play. I want to wake up, and instead of rushing the day away, I want to be content just letting the day unfold and not view that as being unproductive. I may be too hard on myself, which is another challenge I face J, because it’s not like I don’t do all of these things, it’s just that I wish it could be more natural for me so that it could be more of an occurrence in my daily life.
There are so many times I am in the grocery store, frustrated and losing patience, when someone stops me and tells me I’m going to miss these days. I am grateful to these people, because I know it is true, but I usually have so much going on, I forget. By not being present in the moment, but rather operating on auto pilot, I miss out on what my girls are finding to be so funny and why they think the grocery store is a giant play place. If I were present, I might enjoy the shopping trip a little more (emphasis on little) instead of being preoccupied and snapping at them, which only leads to guilt and discontent on my end.  By committing to too much, and having to rush around, being present is impossible. I want to accomplish this goal by being easier on myself and reduce the expectations I set that cause me to lose out on the little things that happen when I am physically present but too preoccupied to notice and be grateful.
I’m sure that many people face this challenge, and some may not even view it as being worthy of such a title. It’s the way of life today.  For me, though, it is important and it is something I have been trying to work on, and fail time and again.  Again, setting the expectation for myself to change right now, this summer, and all of a sudden be present in every moment, is unrealistic. I just hope that some of the time, instead of rushing to the next moment, I will have the strength to just stop and watch it all unfold and find my happiness in that. 

*****
 Don’t we all, working moms, stay at home moms, dads, those without children…don’t each and every one of us forget to stay in this moment. This precious moment in time? We struggle with being HERE, right here watching the sunrise because our child woke up at five freaking am. Instead our thoughts race ahead to the coming day wondering how we are going to deal with this child who will be cranky in two hours. Rather than just enjoying the moment of their smile.

Even if it is five freaking am.

What's your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby's school. I am amazed at how honest and hopeful the challenges have been. Thank you to all who have contributed. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at firebailey@gmail.com

Bear with me…

This is kind of a Jen Kehl type of post but I hope everyone bears with me. I listen to Pandora at work. This means music goes from Eminem to the Drop Kick Murphys to the Glee Soundtrack.  The other day right after I heard a song by Eminem the music transitioned to Christina Perry’s A Thousand Years (theme from Twilight). 

It was the instrumental version so I did not have the singer’s voice, just the one in my head. It occurred to me that the song while about true love, to me is about parenthood. 



“The day we met, Frozen I held my breath. Right from the start I knew I had found a place for my heart…”

With each girl I literally held my breath when I first held them. I was so afraid I would break them. But I knew in that instant I had found my home. One where I would always be warm and loved.

“Time stands still. Beauty in all she (he) is…I will not let anything take away what’s standing in front of me…”

Time does stand still. It also goes faster than a heartbeat. But there are moments of parenthood where you are lucky to see for the rest of your life. Their first step, their first smile (for real, not the gassy one). The day they drive the car for the first time. The moment they find their true love. No matter how many times you hear “MOOOOMMMMM” and wish they had a mute button. It will erase the moment you heard them say momma the first time. 

“And all along I believed I would find you. Time has brought your heart to me. I have loved you a thousand years. I will love you a thousand more”

Children don’t understand. I know I did not understand the depths of my parent’s love until I had my own. Time might march on. We are only “here” for a short time. But love transcends time. It transcends distance. You can have a child half-way around the world and yet your love reaches them. 

Your child might be non-verbal. They might be in the midst of an epileptic seizure. They might just be being a pain in the butt teenager. Yet they feel your love.

For a thousand years you get to feel theirs right back at you.

And that is how deep I got into A Thousand Years until Men in Hats came on. So everyone grab your child and do the Safety Dance!


Throw Back Thursday–Friendships

Welcome to my version of Throw-Back Thursday, blog style. I’m taking Thursdays to revisit some older posts.  I hope you enjoy the trip back in time.




Throw Back Thursday, blog style


(Originally posted 26-JUL-2012)

Today I am amazed. Simply amazed. I brought Boo to school and she went right up to  a little girl, called her by her name (Boo’s version anyway) and they hugged. 

It was an awesome sight. Boo interracting with another child. Even more awesome, this little girl hugged Boo right back.

Then Boo called one of the teacher’s by name (again, her version but definitely the person’s name) as she passed by. (to be honest, I don’t even know the woman’s name!). She then saw another teacher and clearly said her name (this one I knew!).

The utter joy in Boo’s voice and expression was worth all the worry about this new school program.

There was month’s of anxiety leading up to the new school program. Originally the public school put Boo into an integrated preschool feeling that is all she needed. No one listened to us about her needs, etc… They would not give her an aide and did not start her therapies as directed. Thankfully the teacher in the program is simply awesome and took care of the aide herself and helped us advocate for the services Boo deserved.

In the Spring the teacher recommended a new program, a half-day in the preschool and a half-day with discrete (1:1) program that is dedicated to children with special needs. Those with CP, Downs, autism, undiagnosed like Boo. Okay, she is the only one “undiagnosed” but still the program seemed ideal.

Except I was beyond worried. I was afraid she would regress, that we wouldn’t have the communication we had when Boo was in Montessori.  You name it, I worried about it.

The first week was tough. It didn’t help that they forgot to feed her the first day.

The second week was less scary. It didn’t help that they lost her for a little bit.

The third week was without mishap so our fears were slightly less.

The fourth week, Boo met a friend and knew a teacher’s name.

The fourth week ROCKS!

Throw back Thursday–Inclusion

Welcome to my version of Throw-Back Thursday, blog style. I’m taking Thursdays to revisit some older posts.  I hope you enjoy the trip back in time.


TBT Blog Style


(Originally posted 18-JUL-2012)

Allie is taking some summer help in math at a local school. This morning when I dropped Allie off she was telling me about the kids in her class. Some were from her current class and others she didn’t know. Allie said that there was only one other girl, a bunch of boys and one weird boy.

Weird boy, I asked, do you mean the boy with Down syndrome?

            What’s that? Allie replied.

Well he is special needs, like Boo, I explained


Oh, is that why he has a teacher just for him in the class? (Yup) That makes sense now. I thought there was something different but couldn’t figure it out. Why didn’t they tell me so I could help him?


This conversation floored me on many levels. First, Allie has intuitively known that there is something special about Boo and has accepted her without conditions. I automatically assumed that she would recognize and accept it in another child. Second, Allie attends enough of Boo’s therapy appointments to see other children like this boy. I was completely astounded that she even had to ask, or worse in her mind label this boy as “weird”.


Allie has been a staunch defender of Boo. She would never let one of her friends use that term with her sister, so why did she do it with a boy she just met? Have I failed in some way in to prepare and nurture her to accept all others like she does Boo?


Of course, I asked Allie! Not that specifically, but why she did she not understand that this boy was special. She thought because he was so big and not little like Boo he was just a boy.   I asked (just to make sure) that she hadn’t made fun of this boy. She was quick to say no, but that she wished that the teacher had told her because the other boys in the class did. Allie was so cute, telling me that she would make sure it didn’t happen again! We had a long talk about Boo and how would Allie feel if one of her classmates called Boo “weird”.


But it made me think, is inclusion working? Are the teachers and other parents explaining to their children that not all children can run, read, speak like others. Whose responsibility is it really? Mine, in some way because while I can educate/prepare Allie and she can then teach her peers. But neither Allie, her dad or I can go into Boo’s class and wake up the other children/parents. I can only be responsible for the children who interact with Boo in my presence.


Is it the teacher’s responsibility? Certainty, but how can they do this without embarrassing (not the right word, but hopefully you get my point!) the child in question. Allie thought the teacher should have let the kids know.


I think the biggest obstacle is that the other parents are not on the playground or in the classroom with their children. So they might not even be aware, like me, that their child may be prejudging some one. Think about it, if you do not have a special child would you think to educate your ‘typical’ child about a child with Downs, CP, and autism or like Boo one who is undiagnosed? I will admit that before Boo I cannot honestly say I would have said something to Allie until she asked/made a comment in my presence.


I think as children get older they may become more aware (and yes, mean). But at Allie’s age it is just a sense of innocence where they don’t really notice differences in others until the difference is glaringly obvious.


Boo is in an integrated preschool with a not so equal ratio of special/typical kiddos. Even there I notice that some parents look at us askew when Boo is not participating like their ‘typical’ kid in the class. Once a child asked their mom what was wrong with Boo and the mother, instead of educating, told the child to ‘hush’.


So I don’t know what the answer is, if integration is worth it or how to educate the world at large that Boo just has a different sense of typical.

My Challenge: Kayla

This is Kayla. While I have never met Kayla in person I have come to admire her through her mom Michelle’s blog, Big Blueberry Eyes. Kayla loves to dance, act and participate in Buddy Walks. Kayla has not yet met a stage that she cannot dazzle. 

Kayla has Down Syndrome and with that comes some challenges. Somethings are harder for her to do and some things take longer for her to learn. Yet having Down Syndrome doesn’t define Kayla. She is defined by her beautiful heart, the friendships she has created and the activities that keep her mom on her toes.

Thank you, Kayla for sharing your challenge. I hope one of these days to see you dancing with Boo on the beach!

There are over 400,000 persons with Down Syndrome in the United States. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm – although each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all. To learn more about Down Syndrome please visit the National Down Syndrome Society.


What’s your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby’s school. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at firebailey@gmail.com

I Run 4

I have written before (insert too much!) about the importance of creating a village of support when you have a child with special needs. Heck, even with a typical child a support system should be included with every birth certificate.


I began running in earnest about a year ago. I ran to get away from the stress of just, well, everything. Taking 20-odd minutes to focus on nothing but breathing and trying not to trip in public.  It wasn’t always pretty, but I finally found my rhythm. I managed to avoid eating any more bugs and discovered the joy of tripping running in the woods.



Bailey& I running last fall. Or falling last fall.
Recently a friend asked me to join a group that runs for those who cannot. It is called I Run 4. This is a great non-profit that matches one runner for one buddy.The idea was sparked when the founder, Tim Boyle, began dedicating his daily run to a friend who was physically unable to run. They created such a bond a movement was born.

My friend’s daughter is a buddy. Her runner sends not just the child, but the family encouragement and emotional support to get through days that can be overwhelming. In return, my friend’s daughter provides a smile, unconditional love and gratitude that someone out there care enough to run with her spirit.  She also provides the runner with a reason to get out there and run when it would be easier to hit the snooze button.

Thus, a new village was created for my friend.  


Here’s the thing though, not enough special families know about the program. There are over 3,000 runners looking for their buddy! Buddies are those with physical or mental handicaps. Persons of all ages who are willing to be the inspiration for the runners. 

If you are in need of a village, of some support or you are just looking for a way to inspire someone, please consider signing up your child or adult with special needs to be matched. Follow this link: http://www.whoirun4.com/match-me/ to find out more information.  There is no cost to join, for the runner or the buddy.  

The runners are waiting to be a part of your village. Are you ready to be part of theirs?



The nicest thing some one ever did for me was to be my village and allow me to pay it forward.

And that is how I finished the sentence, the nicest thing some one ever did for me was….

Finish the Sentence Friday


**This post was not paid for/sponsored by IRUN4. I will not be moved up quicker on the buddy list (darn) unless more potential buddies decide to join the program. I did receive permission by IRUN4 to use their links and information to promote their program.