In Honor of National Down Syndrome Awarness Month and Edie Shunnarah

What a more perfect time to kick off our fundraising for the "2nd Annual Ladybug Fundraiser" honoring Edie and Benefiting The Bell Center for Early Intervention than October. This month is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month and we want to make you AWARE that Down Syndrome is a blessing! Our lives have truly been blessed by Edie. She has given us so much more than we could ever give to her. Our lives are so much fuller, richer and meaningful because of Edie. She has shown us how to embrace and love life and appreciate all that we have.
Because of Edie we have also been introduced to some wonderful families and individuals. Some of these individuals you will find at The Bell Center for Early Intervention in Homewood, AL. These ladies have cared for our family as if we were a part of their own. They have actually become a part of our family and we feel honored to know them. Last year, due to much love from family and friends our "2009 Team Ladybug"raised over $10,000 for TBC during the Mercedes Marathon event. This year we are raising the challenge to $18,000! Please take some time to read "Our Story" and what TBC means to us. Please also consider making a charitable contribution to our wonderful cause and take part in supporting these beautiful children. Also pass along this blog or the http://www.edieshunnarah.firstgiving.com/edieshunnarah to anyone you know who would like to give a gift as well. We love and appreciate you so much!!

"Our Story"

The baby room was complete. All of her tiny little clothes were laundered and our bags were packed, with her coming home dress folded next to mine. The car seat was secure, our camera batteries were charged. We were prepared. We were ready and on January 14th, 2008 God blessed our family with Edith Gabrielle Shunnarah.

She was beautiful. She had all ten fingers, all ten toes and a little something extra. “Edie” was born carrying an extra chromosome. In clinical terms she was born with Trisomy 21, Down Syndrome. Scott and I thought we were so prepared, so ready, but we never expected this. We were not ready to care for a baby with Special Needs. We knew nothing about Down Syndrome, how to care for a child with this diagnoses, what the future would hold for us, for our {brand new} baby girl. All I could ask was – “God why us? Why me? Why our little girl? – She does not deserve this life you have chosen for her"

We were introduced to The Bell Center by every random nurse and doctor who entered our room. With so many recommendations we knew this was our next step. We made the call and met with Ms. Betty Bell five days after Edie was born. It was tough entering the facility for the first time. We were a bit uncomfortable as we sat in the car trying to catch our breath and dry our tears. Neither Scott nor I had ever been exposed to this world and yet we were now a part of it. We were not ready and we had no idea what to expect. We were immediately put to ease once we spoke with Ms. Betty. She knew so much more about us than we did ourselves. She knew our thoughts, concerns, feelings, and she knew our daughter was worth every ounce of love the would had to give. She advised us to go home and enjoy our baby, love our baby and five weeks later Edie attended her first class.

Since this first class Edie has gone from learning to hold tiny rattles to walking while being assisted and everything in between. Scott and I have gone from “clueless” to very well informed and very well supported. We have so much love and respect for Ms. Betty, the therapist and volunteers who serve at The Bell Center. And to show our gratitude we started “The Ladybug Fundraiser in honor of Edie Shunnarah” in 2008 raising over ten thousand dollars for The Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs.

We can easily say our life was turned upside down on January 14th, 2008 and it was turned upside down for all of the right reasons. We could not have asked for a more wonderfully special child than our Edie. She has taught us more about life and what truly matters than you would ever know. We were not prepared nor were we ready but God was. He was ready to bless us with one of his greatest gifts of all. And we are so glad that he chose this life for us.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing Edie's story. You seem to have a wonderful family.

    As this is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, thought I’d pass along an easy way to help raise awareness: check out this short video -- http://www.ahamoment.com/vote/barry -- about the aha moment of father of a child with Down Syndrome who learned what you can do with challenges. If you like his story, click to vote for him, as the top vote getters in the contest will be aha moment TV commercials next year. More media exposure around Down Syndrome awareness would be a very good thing, so spread the word if you can. First round ends Oct 15, so get your vote in soon!