By: Maureen Donnelly, Grateful mom
Published on May 11, 2015
Tucked behind Advocate Lutheran General Hospital is a unique, hidden treasure that is an inspiration for many: the Adult Down Syndrome Center. Thanks to Dr. Chicoine and the amazing staff there, patients and their families can access the help they need to navigate the medical and psychological complexities of Down syndrome.
My husband and I have eight children, three of whom have special needs. Our eldest, Jennifer, has Down syndrome. Now almost 33, Jen has always been a blessing—so sweet, happy and independent. A few years ago, however, she started to deteriorate and have meltdowns that we couldn’t prevent or stop. She went from being our easiest child to our most difficult in just a few months. We felt lost and alone, and we didn’t know what to do.
To say we were struggling to help Jen is a huge understatement. We were beyond discouraged until we were referred to the Adult Down Syndrome Center. The staff’s empathy, insight and understanding about what life is like for people with Down syndrome is nothing short of extraordinary. There we found the help—provided by the most wonderful physicians, nurses and caregivers—that our daughter needed.
The Adult Down Syndrome Center cares for the whole person, and that is miraculous and life-changing. The acceptance, support and compassionate care that Jen is so blessed to receive fills us with profound gratitude. She has made significant mental, psychological and physical progress. And we now have the hope and tools we need to help her in the best ways possible.
To our family, the Center is one of Chicago’s finest pearls. It holds an incredibly special place in our hearts. For the past two years our entire family has supported the Adult Down Syndrome Center by participating in the Fitness, Fun for Everyone Run/3K Walk, which is one of the highlights of Jen’s year and as grand as the Chicago Marathon itself!
I still remember every single detail of Jen’s first race. She didn’t run; she walked. And though she came in dead last, I don’t think there are too many events in her life when she was surrounded, supported and cheered on with as much love. It was a life-giving moment for Jennifer that we will never forget!
Jennifer would love to invite you to participate in the 3rd Annual Fitness, Fun for Everyone 5K Run/3K Walk benefiting the Adult Down Syndrome Center on Saturday, May 30. Not only will you help provide the philanthropic support that is essential to be able to offer important programming for patients with Down syndrome, but you will also be able to meet some of the inspiring individuals who benefit from your generosity.
We hope to see you there!