Family Stories – Michele and Delaney

This year, we want to focus on sharing family stories. We hear so many stories throughout the year, and we cherish those stories shared with us. Whether these stories come from the perspective of a parent, caregiver, uncle, or other family members, the impact of sharing our own story is remarkable. We never know who might be going through a similar life journey or who might be seeking advice. What we do know is these stories can provide support, empowerment, and comfort knowing we are not alone, while also celebrating each amazing participant that comes through our doors.

This month, we are featuring the beautiful story of the mother/daughter duo – Michele and Delaney! We remember the first time this dynamic duo came into our Playhouse, which was last year on World Down Syndrome Day. So many families, volunteers, and individuals immediately wanted to celebrate and hold Delaney, because who doesn’t want to hold a sweet baby girl? We were all so excited for this new addition to the GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland family and filled with hopeful anticipation to watch Delaney grow! After this first experience, Michele and Delaney quickly became regulars at our LMNOP program!

What types of activities and hobbies does Delaney enjoy? Tell us more about the amazing Delaney!

She loves Cocomelon and Trolls. She loves dancing. She is the most determined little girl I’ve ever known! When she wants something, she makes it happen!

What brought you to GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland?

After I received Delaney’s diagnosis, people flooded me with resources and GiGi’s was one that was recommended repeatedly. 

What programs are you involved in at GiGi’s Playhouse Cleveland?

Definitely LMNOP Class! 

What has been your favorite moment at GiGi’s Playhouse?

Celebrating at the World Down Syndrome Day party on 3/21!

What are other programs and supports that have helped your loved one grow and achieve?

Help Me Grow has helped us a lot from the beginning. 

What would you like people to know about your loved one, and how can that change the community around us?

Delaney is like a magnet, people just gravitate towards her smile and joy. I hope it leads parents to teach their children to be accepting of individuals of all abilities. 

What is your proudest moment regarding your loved one?

That she took her first steps at 15 months old. She works so hard and is so strong. I just admire her drive. 

What is one fear you might have had early on, but has now been eliminated?

Health issues. Overall Delaney is doing so well. I’ve also come to realize that most of my fears I’d still have with a neurotypical child.

How do you prefer people approach you when they want to know more about your loved one?

Just ask! I’d rather you hear about Down syndrome from me than the internet. I’m pretty much an open book. I might cry when I talk about her, but that’s just because I’m so full of love for this little girl. 

What has your loved one taught you? What gifts have they brought into this world?

Delaney has truly made me want to be a better person. The joy and light she brings into every day is addictive. It’s hard to have a bad day around her. Time seems to be flying by and I just try to slow things down and soak up the little moments. 

What have you learned by being Delaney’s advocate?

While there are some horrible people who will say some horrible things, 99% of my interactions with people are positive. People are eager to learn and understand. 

What is your favorite part about being Delaney’s mom?

Every single thing about it! The love and light she radiates exceed my expectations. I wish I could be with her every second of every day. 

What is one hope for your loved one?

I hope that the world is accepting of my daughter as she is and that she shows the world what Down syndrome is and what she’s capable of. 

If there is one thing other families can take away from your story, what would it be?

That it’s ok to be afraid when you get your diagnosis. Even mad or sad. Just know that in the end, it will all be ok. I cried when I received her diagnosis. I cried a lot. I still cry, but it’s for a different reason now. She overwhelms me with so much emotion in a good way. My heart could just burst! When you’re going to be a parent, you immediately start dreaming of what your child will be. A Down syndrome diagnosis changes that, but what I’ve realized now is that it’s a change for the better. Things aren’t always going to be sunshine and rainbows but they will be beautiful with her by my side.

Did you know Michele was featured on WKYC 3 in November of 2022? Michele shares more of her story with them and we invite you to check it out by clicking the link below!

If you are interested in sharing your story, please email our Operations Manager, Mary at:

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