Belting Through Challenges: GiGi’s Moment of Resilience  

If you blinked, you might have missed it. 

This past weekend, GiGi Gianni, the namesake of GiGi’s Playhouse, the only network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers, hit the stage for Down Country, an Awareness to Acceptance Concert for individuals with Down syndrome.  

Before country stars Conner Smith, Cooper Alan, Joe Nichols, and Scotty McCreery took to the stage to perform their hits, GiGi kicked off the festivities with her rendition of the National Anthem. GiGi’s performance was a huge success and got the entire crowd energized for the day’s events! 

But during GiGi’s performance there was a small moment that represented something of great significance. At the beginning of the anthem, GiGi slightly lost her breath, said “sorry,” and continued performing beautifully. 

 It was a tiny mistake. It happened so quickly, many in the crowd probably didn’t even notice, but that small hiccup signifies something extremely powerful… 

Resilience. 

For individuals with Down syndrome, singing isn’t always easy.  

Whenever anyone sings, whether they’re belting out the National Anthem or singing karaoke with friends, they’re reliant on tons of muscles. Most people don’t realize this because singing comes naturally, but for individuals with Down syndrome, this isn’t the case. 

Down syndrome is commonly associated with low muscle tone. This low muscle tone makes singing extremely difficult and requires years of therapy, practice, and hard work to overcome. 

GiGi did the work. She loves the National Anthem. She always has. 

At the early age of five years old, GiGi learned and memorized all the words! She dreamed of performing the National Anthem but couldn’t. Her low muscle tone didn’t allow her to sing it. She couldn’t properly articulate the words or summon up enough air to belt out the words. 

GiGi could have given up.  

But she didn’t. 

Through hard work, perseverance, and resiliency, GiGi practiced singing, and little by little, she was able to accomplish her dream!  

GiGi now performs the National Anthem regularly at large-scale events, and she sings it beautifully! 

Though GiGi and others with Down syndrome may have to work a little harder to overcome challenges and obstacles, they can do anything to which they set their mind.  

Like GiGi, they just have to keep going. 

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