Grace Burke is 22 and on the run. When she’s not working, you’ll find this millennial hanging out with friends, playing on her laptop, or working out. The only thing that sets her apart from her peers is an extra copy of chromosome 21.
“Grace has been such a huge blessing in our lives,” says Jill Burke, Grace’s mom. “She’s always been very outgoing and very social.”
So it should come as no surprise that Grace has been selected as the 2021 3.21 Mile Run Adult Honoree. “She was so excited, she couldn’t stop giggling and cheering when she found out she was going to be the honoree,” Jill adds.
The Hamilton Southeastern High School graduate has been part of the GiGi’s Playhouse Indy family for two years. She participates in the EPIC, GiGiFIT Adult, and SMART programs where she’s met some of her best friends. “Before COVID-19 hit, she and her friends were out volunteering with GiGi’s,” Jill says. “I loved that she got to get out, help others, and have regular experiences that a typical person has. It’s been priceless.”
Grace also works at ULTA Beauty, “folding towels, dusting, and putting samples in bags,” Grace says. These are experiences Jill feared Grace may never have.
“We are so very thankful for GiGi’s,” Jill says. “These kinds of programs weren’t available for kids with Down syndrome when Grace was born. The opportunities seem to be endless these days.”
Jill recommends parents with kids with Down syndrome get involved with programs like GiGi’s early and ask questions often. A great way to do that is to participate in a
playhouse fundraiser like the 3.21 Mile Run. Grace is registered to run with her EPIC team on June 5th.
“I’m going to raise money on Facebook and by asking a lot of friends,” Grace adds. She might even rope her four siblings into participating. Her advice to you? “Get out there and raise money! Support GiGi’s Playhouse!”
In her spare time Grace enjoys reading, painting, writing stories, dancing, and watching her favorite shows on her laptop.