Every week we get newspaper articles and clippings when our name is mentioned in them. I was reading some of the articles from the past few weeks and came across two stories that made me stop and think. Working for Special Olympics Louisiana is a huge reward in itself, but often we get busy with what needs to be done and sometimes forget (only for a brief period) to appreciate what our organization does and means to SO many people. Hopefully these articles will make you smile and maybe help you to look at Special Olympics a little different than you might have before.
– 1st article was in the Courier, and ran on March 21st. Read the full article.
The part that really stood out was: “When she was born, Phyllis Toups’ daughter Lottie was given just six months to live. The family was referred to TARC in Houma, a program that then provided day programs for children and adults with disabilities. TARC Intake Specialist India Menard told Phyllis, ‘We’ll take Lottie, but you have to understand that we’re going to treat her like she’ll live forever, not like she’ll die tomorrow,‘ ” Toups said. “It meant so much to me to hear that. Before that, I was planning for her funeral. She gave me the hope that things could be different.” Today, Lottie is 29 years old. She’s currently enrolled in TARC’s dayhabilitation program, where she exercises, goes to music therapy and does arts and crafts.”
– 2nd article was in the Hammond Daily Star, and also ran on March 21st. Read the full article. “My daughter, Haley Ann Rose, is a 14-year-old blonde-haired, blue-eyed, lovely young lady. I remember the day that she was born just like it was yesterday. It was then that the doctors told us the baby had Duodenal Atresia and would require surgery immediately after birth. They also said that is was a common characteristic of Down Syndrome. Haley unexpectedly made her entrance to the world six weeks premature and weighed 4 lbs. 12 oz. She had surgery after her birth and required a longer hospital stay. After a month old, she was able to come home. After doing much research, I walked into the doors of TARC in Hammond with her and received everything we needed to help her thrive. She was a very determined little one and never gave up, and neither did I. I never gave up hope once and told myself that I would never hold her back and let her be who she was and we could hopefully inspire other families one day.
Her classmates voted her to be on the Homecoming Court of Loranger Middle School last fall. When I received the call that she had been nominated, I remember getting weak in the knees and asked how did that happen. They said that it was her friends at school who did this because they thought she deserved it….then they announced “The 2011 Loranger Middle School Homecoming Queen is Miss Haley Ann Rose.”
A few weeks ago was high school cheerleader tryouts. She went all of the days and tried out with the other girls. Once again I was amazed at the support she received from the school. She received a letter stating “Congratulations, you are a 2012 Loranger High School Cheerleader.”
We hear stories all the time how parents were told their child would never be able to walk, talk, etc. but now, because of those who believe differently we see how many things those with intellectual disabilities are capable of. It makes us happy to be able to look back and see what a difference time, faith and love can do. Happy Easter!