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Down Syndrome Awareness month affects Forney family and touches community

Down Syndrome Awareness month affects Forney family and touches community Shelly Chadwick, 11-year-old TayTay Chadwick, and 7-year-old Hunter.
Forney, Texas -- 11-year-old Taylor Chadwick attends Claybon Elementary as a 5th grader, she is on the A/B honor roll, plays baseball, and is a peewee cheerleader. “TayTay”, as friends and family call her, also has Down syndrome.
Not only is October Breast Cancer Awareness month, it is also Down syndrome awareness month and Shelly Chadwick, Taylor's mother, is reaching out to raise awareness for her daughter and so many others like her in the community.

“I am a proud mother of a daughter with Down syndrome,” said Chadwick. “Taylor is beautiful, smart, happy, funny, full of life, and she loves people unconditionally.”

Taylor is a fan favorite when she's on the baseball field with her team, the Forney Angels, and when she is cheering on the football field sidelines for the Forney Jackrabbits peewee team. Taylor also competes in the Special Olympics every year.

Taylor, like most young girls, has a best friend who she watches movies with, plays with Barbies, listens to music, and has sleepovers. Taylor's best friend of four years also has Down syndrome.

“When I was pregnant with Taylor I didn’t know she had Down syndrome. I found out the day she was born, so you can only imagine the shock and disbelief I felt,” said Chadwick. “As I looked at my beautiful baby girl I knew right then I would stop at nothing to give her the best and most “normal” life possible.”

“I was afraid of how people would treat and judge her. Little did I know, this little girl could touch so many lives, not only family and friends, but of complete strangers,” said Chadwick. “My goal in October is to help raise awareness for Down syndrome so people can learn that we are all more alike than different. Not to be afraid, to get to know them for who they are. I would like for them to be included, for people to treat them with respect and accept them for the wonderful people they are and not to judge them because they have an extra chromosome. The more you understand, the more you can help your kids understand acceptance.”

Approximately 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born each year in the United States. It affects one in every 691 babies born in the United States each year which makes it the most common genetic condition, according to the National Down Syndrome Society.

The Down Syndrome Creed
My face may be different, But my feelings the same.
I laugh and I cry, And I take pride in my gains.
I was sent here among you; to teach you to LOVE.
As God in heaven looks down from above.
To Him I’m NO different .His love knows NO bounds.
It’s those here among you In cities and towns
That judge me by standards, that man has imparted
But these families I’ve chosen will help me get started.
For I’m one of the children So special and few
That came here to learn The same lessons as you.
That love is acceptance; it must come from the heart
We all have the same purpose, though not the same start.
The Lord gave me life To live and embrace.
And I’ll do as you do , But at my OWN pace.
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Mathew Richards

Mathew Richards is a multimedia journalist covering the latest and breaking news in Forney, Texas. Mathew has an IT background with videography and live video broadcasting experience. Feel free to contact him with any comments or leads at the e-mail address provided below.

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