We didn’t find out that Taylor had Down syndrome until she was born.  That day is still so clear in my mind.  She struggled to breathe so my husband Brett stayed close to her as the nurse worked.  He was the first to suspect that she might have Down syndrome.  I immediately began to feel a whirlwind of emotions.  I didn’t know anything about this.  Who could we turn to?  I’d heard about GiGi’s Playhouse but knew it was far away from our home.  I had 2 other children to care for at home.   I wouldn’t be able to make the drive.

Years later I heard Liz Thorn was creating a startup team to bring a GiGi’s Playhouse to our area.  I knew this would be a wonderful thing for my daughter Taylor, our family and our community!  I joined the startup team and now volunteer as the Executive Board Secretary.  The journey of building a playhouse is much like having a child with Down syndrome.  There are ups and downs, trials and tribulations yet so many rewards.  Working with Liz and the other amazing people on this board has been very rewarding.  I’ve learned so much!  I can’t wait for everyone to enjoy the Deerfield playhouse located in Bannockburn Green in a few short weeks! This will be a place of support for those families that don’t know who to turn to.  See you at the playhouse very soon.

Love, Shanda


  1. Chad Noyes on January 9, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story Shanda! We appreciate the hard work you put in to help our playhouse and individuals with Down syndrome!

  2. Christine Goshgarian on January 17, 2019 at 3:18 am

    So happy for you and Taylor and so proud of you for your hard work and dedication!! Bravo!!!! Honored to call you a friend 🙏🏻🙏🏻

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