Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Advocacy #2: Donate

Can we just get this one out of the way?  It’s uncomfortable for me, it’s probably uncomfortable for you, but it’s advocacy with minimal effort and on a Friday night after Homecoming Week, it’s what you get.

Here is a cute picture to distract you from the awkwardness of this post:


In all seriousness, I would urge you to carefully consider which charities you choose when sending in donations.  Some groups spend a lot of money on staff and publications and little on the cause itself.  Others promote ideas that do much more harm than good (Autism Speaks, I’m calling you out).  We have our own favorite Down syndrome charities and groups (listed below) that support our own viewpoint and mission for Tessa.  There are others, but these are the ones that we feel best support inclusion and advocacy for individuals with Down syndrome:

National Groups:

National Down Syndrome Society –  http://www.ndss.org/About-NDSS/Mission-Vision/

National Down Syndrome Congress – http://www.ndsccenter.org/mission-and-history

The Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network – http://www.dsdiagnosisnetwork.org/

Local to Illinois/Chicagoland:

National Association for Down Syndrome: http://www.nads.org/about-us/

UPS for DownS: http://www.upsfordowns.org

One more for those who are into medical research and treatment (I’m still undecided):

The LuMind Foundation – http://www.lumindfoundation.org/

Happy Donating!  🙂

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Team Tessa Rocks Chicago

The last week and a half was so busy and went so fast that I’m trying to figure out if it actually really happened or not.  I’m looking forward to sharing some pictures from our great vacation in Saugatuck, Michigan.  But first, we had the most amazing day on Sunday.  Team Tessa absolutely rocked the Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon and 5k!

We raised over $5,000 for our favorite parent support group, UPS for DownS and were the top fundraising team for our group.  When totaled, all of the runners who came out to race raised over $34,000!!!  Amazing!!

Team Tessa is ready to race!!


While the day started a LOT earlier than any of us would have liked (especially me, as we were at a wedding the night before…), it was so cool to walk through the city early in the morning, watching the sun rise up over the buildings as 30,000 runners made their way to the starting line.  Ellie was very excited to see the skyscrapers and to wear her Team Tessa t-shirt.

Ellie can’t believe that she has her two favorite people, her grandmas, (almost) all to herself!


As we waited for the race to start, Tessa managed to have her own little monumental moment… she held her bottle on her own for two full ounces!!  I was able to send this picture to John right before he started running:


But apparently, that milestone really took it out of our little rock star, because she slept for most of the rest of the race…



Ellie had a great day too, despite the fact that she got up at 5:00 in the morning.  She managed to be three-year-old-meltdown-free until we didn’t let her take off her shoes in Subway after the race.  She loved watching the race with her Papa.



Somewhere between miles 4 and 5, we saw some of the racers.  Clearly, they weren’t too worried about their time, because they took a second to say hello!

Waiting for the finish, the Team Tessa supporters who were able to come to the race on Sunday gathered for a cute picture.


While I hoped to catch all of our runners out on the course, three of them were just too fast for me.  But  here’s a picture of John and Uncle Mike crossing the finish line:



It was such an awesome, inspiring day.  We met some great people, enjoyed the great city of Chicago, were blown away by the supporters of our group… and were amazed at the outpouring of love and support from our family and friends.  We can’t wait for next year’s event!!