Dwight and Sara Freiberg
Dwight and I began our journey with Gigi’s when our son, Devon, was very young. We had heard of an organization that was a learning center and a support group for families of children with Down Syndrome in Chicago. We felt a need to bring Gigi’s to Sioux City and started asking other families to join us in making this happen. At that time, the only source of support and information, locally, really, was the AEA. The AEA group was not “Down Syndrome specific” but really was a meeting place for parents of kids with a variety of special needs. We were more interested in getting information, specifically about Down Syndrome.
We found out Devon had Down syndrome when I was 22 weeks pregnant. We had the time to process, research, and make contacts with families who also had children and adult children with Down syndrome. We knew in our hearts, the support group would be important to families who had the Down syndrome diagnosis -- during pregnancy, at the hospital, and after they returned home from the hospital.
Gigi’s has been a blessing to us and the many other families the Playhouse serves. It has really exceeded the hopes we had for it when we planned our first “Buddy Walk” on a wing and a prayer. The information and support we have received from this source ranges from medical challenges Devon has experienced over the years, that other families have also experienced, to financial advice and estate planning, to extra work with Devon on acquiring language. All of these things have added value to our lives, made a struggle easier, or avoided a potential pitfall altogether--all because someone in a similar situation walked that road before us and was willing to share their experiences. We are grateful to all of the people over the years we have gotten to know through Gigi’s.
Devon is now 13. He is a 7th grader and loves to play every sport. This year he ran cross country for SBL, played basketball, and is looking forward to wrestling and track and field. He also sings in the choir and plays the drums in the band. He is active in our church and has a passion for life that centers around doing all of the things he sees his brother and sister do. His real goal in life, right now, is to just be like the other boys his age. To the extent he is able to do this, and be an absolute blessing in others’ lives is in direct correlation to the extent he has been blessed by the time and experience people have poured into his life. Many of those people have (directly or indirectly) been associated with Gigi’s, and to all of those people, we are grateful.