January 25, 2013

Special Olympic Games - the departure

On July 8, 1993 I wrote the following letter to our friends and family:

Dear Friends and Family,

On June 19 John & I were very happy to experience the birth of our second child and daughter Alex. Alex has Down syndrome, which took us completely by surprise. My pregnancy had been uneventful and every indicator was normal.

Fortunately for us, I delivered Alex in a hospital with an excellent reputation for treating newborns with all sorts of problems. As Down syndrome was suspected by the doctors shortly after Alex's birth, she was tested for the most common physical problems affecting Down's children. This included heart, lung and lower GI tract problems. Her muscle tone was also checked and her ability to feed and digest her food. Happily, she passed all of her testing with flying colors.

Although we were heartbroken at first, we have realized that first Alex is a baby, and secondly she has Down syndrome. Not the other way around. We didn't plan for this but we are preparing for it.

We are now semi-experts on Down syndrome and are learning about all the programs that are available to Alex so she will be able to reach her highest potential. This involves something called early intervention were she will be able to work with therapists to help her develop the skills she will need to be able to go to school and function as a normal child. Alex will receive the best care we can give her.

Alex is active, alert, cute and we love her. We hope you will all get a chance to meet her. I expect we will all become better people for having Alex in our lives.

Love, Gary & John

Today, almost 20 years later Alex is on the plane to the Republic of Korea with 150 other athletes from the USA and 60 coaches. Our long ago fears and grieving have been forgotten and in their place a beautiful sense of serenity. Our journey is not always easy but it is always full of pride. 

Once again, the prophesy of that long ago letter was realized this past week as Alex prepared for her departure. Alex is loved beyond words…

She is loved at the Treehouse, where she works in the childcare facility at Snowmass Mountain.

Alex is loved at Challenge Aspen, where she trained two days a week for the Winter Games.

Alex is loved at Timbo’s pizza where she works on Wednesdays and brightens everyone’s day

Alex is loved by our friends at WindWalkers, and the ones that have known her since our Illinois days

 Alex is loved by Sarah Berra, her truest friend for almost 17 years.

And Alex and all her five fellow athletes are loved be each other and the wonderful state of Colorado.

How did we get so lucky!


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