Three years ago, while still reeling from a surprise Down syndrome diagnosis, we made the last minute decision to attend a Down syndrome fundraising walk in Pittsburgh. We weren't sure what to expect and we weren't entirely sure we were even ready to be there. We are so thankful we took the chance. The entire experience turned out to be life changing!
At just a few weeks old, Liam was the youngest person who had Down syndrome at the Dash. We were immediately welcomed into the local Ds community with open arms. A woman who I am now friends with ran over before we even reached the registration table to greet us. That was only the start! The entire event was unbelievably positive and watching all the older kids who had Down syndrome filled my heart with so much hope for Liam's future. As we drove away from our very first Dash for Down syndrome, Grant and I turned to look at each other and we both had tears in our eyes.
Since that day, the Dash for Down Syndrome has become an event that we look forward to each year! It is the biggest fundraising event for the Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh and the money that's raised helps fund programs such as the Down Syndrome Clinic that oversees Liam's healthcare and development. It is very important for our local Ds community and the Dash brings us all together every year!
On Saturday, we attended our fourth Dash for Down Syndrome!
We were blessed with amazing weather the previous 3 years but we didn't get as lucky this year. It was 50 degrees, rainy and blustery! After weeks of Summer-like weather that had just gone away the day before, we were FREEZING! Our SuperLiam logo shirts were covered up with coats and Liam couldn't even wear his. It was so cold!
We eventually headed indoors until the walk began. The girls got their faces painted while the boys played video games, and Liam ended up finding a new friend!
Finally it was time for the 2016 Dash for Down Syndrome to begin!
The walk begins at Highmark Stadium, which overlooks downtown Pittsburgh, and goes through Station Square before returning to the stadium. The fountain in station square is always a hit!
As soon as we got back everyone started to leave. It was just too cold! Even Liam, who is always so happy, wasn't thrilled with the weather.
The kids ran off some energy while we tried to get our group together for our team photo! With 10+ kids it's kind of like herding cats!
Finally everyone was rounded up and we were able to take the official SuperLiam League 2016 team photo!
I am so grateful for our amazing "framily" who gathers to support Liam every year. You know you have good friends when they make your family a priority in really crappy weather! We are so blessed!
True to my word, there's never a dull moment. As we were heading toward the gates, the sky opened up and it started to pour. Liam ended up tripping and even though he braced himself with his arms, his face still hit the concrete. As I scooped him up, I prayed that there wouldn't be much damage. Thankfully his teeth were safe and there was only a little bit of blood. He only cried for 30 seconds then was back to his happy self. The end result was a cut on his nose and the corner of his eye, a bruise and a big scrape!
He may look a bit battered, but it didn't hurt his mood one bit! We adore our Super Liam!
Despite the weather, the Dash for Down Syndrome was a success! We're looking forward to next year and we're keeping our fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate!
Let's Be Friends!