At 28-years-old, I had no idea that I had any chance of having a child with Down syndrome.  My husband and I quickly learned 8 hours after I gave birth to my son, Corbyn, that doctors and nurses had suspected a chromosome abnormality, Down syndrome to be exact.  It was a long week of depression, anger, and denial until we received the final confirmed chromosome test.  The reality is that 1 in 691 live births are children with Down syndrome.

The diagnosis and all the medical complications that went along with it hit us hard, like a punch in the gut, and the future of our son literally flashed in front of our eyes.  What type of limitations will he have?  Will he be independent?  How will people treat him?  The scenarios kept me up at night, running over and over in my head, questioning what things I could have done differently during my pregnancy.  Was there something I could have done to prevent this?

We first heard about GiGi’s Playhouse from a case worker within the NICU shortly after Corbyn’s birth.  The case worker explained that the achievement center, opening within the next year, was specifically geared toward individuals with Down syndrome.  This conversation was the key turning point on how I viewed the diagnosis for my son and the first time I started to accept the diagnosis in an optimistic mindset.  How lucky were we to have this coming to our community?

Learning more about the opportunities and programs offered at the playhouse gave us a sense of relief and hope.  Hope that our son will be independent within the community, hope that our son will be given the same opportunities as other kids, hope that the community would see him as a person first, and relief that this center will provide our whole family a sense of “home” with their welcoming arms.

Looking back now at his contagious smile and lovable personality, I want parents to know there is hope and there is relief in a resource like GiGi’s Playhouse.  Most importantly, it’s essential to note that this achievement center is advancing access to programs for all individuals, no matter what their diagnosis may be.

My family’s goal is to raise $15,000 towards a Café G Kitchen in order to promote entrepreneurship and independence for those living with disabilities in our community.  We would greatly appreciate you supporting all impacted families within central Wisconsin by believing in our build of GiGi’s Playhouse.

In order to provide hope, opportunity, and inclusion for our family and the surrounding community, visit our fundraising page at: https://p2p.onecause.com/gigiswausaubelieveinourbuild/megan-huerth

Megan & Clayton Huerth (on behalf of our son, Corbyn)

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