Gigi has amazing support from her teachers. When I say teachers I mean her classroom teachers as well as her speech therapist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist. It really does take a village to raise a Gigi!
During this past year Gigi has been learning remotely. She logs on to her computer and meets with her therapists like her speech therapist, Ms. Shanley, via Zoom. Ms. Shanley has had to do things differently this year to accommodate her remote students and keep them interested. Numerous times she has driven to our house on the other side of Boston from her place to bring Gigi supplies for their next speech session. Gigi was always so excited to see Ms. Shanley even though they sometimes had to talk through the glass door.
On warmer days Ms. Shanley would stop by and meet with Gigi outside. One warm fall day she even stayed for a while to play and let Gigi boss her around.
This year for World Down Syndrome Day (March 21st) Gigi’s speech therapist, Ms. Shanley, decided to run 21 miles throughout Boston to honor her students (past and present), family, and friends as well as to raise money for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC). The MDSC supports individuals with Down syndrome and their families from pre-natal to adulthood. I got in contact with them when I was pregnant. Along Ms. Shanley’s route she stopped at 7 houses of her students with Down syndrome.
When Ms. Shanley told us back in January that she was doing this we were so excited. What a fun way to spend World Down Syndrome Day! She prepped and planned everything perfectly and stopped by a few days earlier to give Gigi her swag bag which included a special t-shirt for her and her sisters, socks for the girls, personalized M&Ms, and a running bib for Gigi.
On World Down Syndrome Day the weather was mid-60’s and sunny which was a perfect day for us (a little too hot I’d imagine for a runner). We made cookies and decorated the house.
We even wrote messages to Ms. Shanley in chalk on the sidewalk. And right after lunchtime Ms. Shanley came running around the corner with her support team which happened to be Gigi’s occupational therapist, Ms. Lara (biking), and her special ed teacher from last year, Ms. Shah (running) along with another friend of Ms. Shanley’s.
And Fox News was there too which made Gigi’s sisters excited beyond belief. Check the news clip to see brief shots of Gigi and our house. We were thrilled that Ms. Shanley and team stayed probably 20-30 minutes. She did a little bit of running with Gigi and then gave her a medal. Then off she went to run 6 more miles to the house of Gigi’s buddy, Jackson.
We ended the day at Ms. Shanley’s finish line at the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown.
Ms. Shanley raised over $8,000 for the MDSC. Thank you, Ms. Shanley and great work! We are so lucky to have you in our life. I wish every child was lucky enough to have a supportive therapist like you.
If you would like to donate click this link.