Monday, March 5, 2012

MDSC uses donation money for?

Chris Burke, best known for the character, Corky, played for four years on the television series, Life Goes On, and became one of America's favorite personalities. Maybe you remember seeing Chris on television.  Through his work, he was able to transform America's image of people with disabilities. Chris was the first person with down syndrome to star in a weekly television series.

These days it's pretty common for us to meet someone, like Chris, who has down syndrome. We might meet a young person with down Syndrome working in a fast food restaurant or a local grocery store, we could see them playing sports, and generally being an active member of society. Kids with down syndrome also face some challenges in life. They usually have trouble learning and are slower to learn how to talk and take care of themselves. But despite their challenges, kids with down syndrome can go to regular schools, make friends, enjoy life, and get jobs when they're older. Getting special help early — often when they are just babies and toddlers — can be the key to healthier, happier, more independent lives. That's a major goal of an organization called the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC).

Just about 6 weeks ago I was asked if I'd like to run the Boston Marathon for the MDSC. My immediate reaction was yes! I had never heard of the MDSC, or what they did before my son, Colin William Trottier was diagnosed with down syndrome, 10 days after birth. You can read the fully story here and make a donation if you haven't already done so: You too probably never heard of this organization unless you or someone you knew had been in need of this organization. 

One day I arrived home from work, tired and still thinking about why our son was diagnosed with down syndrome, there was a package at my door step. It was from the MDSC. The box went unopened for a couple weeks, until my wife began to go through it. There was a bunch of materials on raising a child with  down syndrome, a book written by moms with children with down syndrome and the first year of life. I didn't want to accept the fact that my son had  down syndrome and I wasn't ready to read anything or talk to anyone about it.

I was alone one day over a weekend and I decided to start looking through the materials. There were so many pieces of information and different groups, websites with resources, and stories of many families facing the same things Kelly and I were going through. We were not alone, and people where there to help get through this.

As time went on, I met many dads with children with  down syndrome, and it amazed me on the amount of support out there for families. While it’s only been about 5 months since learning Colin had down syndrome, the MDSC played a vital role to my wife and I early on. We needed that initial package as we had no idea where to go from here. From families with young children to older adults, this organization plays a vital role. In the MDSC’s own words;

The Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC) strives to ensure all individuals with Down syndrome are valued, included, and given the opportunities to pursue fulfilling lives in the community through programs such as Parents First Call, Advocates in Motion (AIM), Teacher Partnership Network, Self-Advocate Advisory Council, Annual Conference, Educators Forum, and Legislative Advocacy efforts.

Funds raised through the Boston Marathon enable the MDSC to continue to support new and expectant families; educate health care professionals about Down syndrome and how to deliver a diagnosis; provide social and leadership development for teens and young adults with Down syndrome; equip educators with best practices and resources; and create and influence legislation affecting people with Down syndrome on the local and national level.

To learn more about this organization and how you can get involved, visit

Why am I running Boston?

Our son, Colin William Trottier, was born on September 29, 2011. Our joy in the birth of our third son was tempered when Colin was diagnosed with Down Syndrome 10 days after birth. Down syndrome is a genetic condition and is the most common single cause of human birth defects. Approximately half the children with Down syndrome are born with some type of heart defect, and Colin is one of them. The doctors are hopeful that this will heal on its own.

My wife, Kelly, and I spent several months getting used to the fact that Colin would have special needs beyond that which we experienced with our first two boys. We are learning every day. Colin has two older brothers, Mason and Mitchell, both of which truly adore him. We didn’t tell them that Colin had Down Syndrome until just a couple weeks ago. Kelly and I didn’t know how to tell them or how to answer the questions that could come up. Once we explained, both were concerned, and asked if Colin was going to be ok. We explained that Colin is going to be fine…and he will still be able to steal your toys. We continued to explain the value of family and always being together and being there for each other no matter what. It’s a love like no other and cannot be explained.

I personally spent the first few months in denial, how could this happen to us? I cried when I would be on my ride to and from work. I prayed, I asked for answers. I just didn’t understand. I felt as though I failed somehow. Boy, was I wrong! As the days rolled on, and I heard from more people about their kids with Down Syndrome, they were amazingly happy. They were truly happy and often explained how much love has been generated in their homes. My wife and I are truly blessed.  We have three beautiful boys and a noisy house! Colin is a blessing and we wouldn’t change a thing!

Our experience, and what I’ve learned from other parents, has brought home the value of an organization like the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress.  The information provided by MDSC to parents and the public about Down Syndrome, and their public advocacy is a vital resource that deserves our support.

I will be running the Boston Marathon this year for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, MDSC, and my goal is to raise $7,500 for the awareness of Down Syndrome. I have made this year’s race a personal challenge, and I need your help. Anything you give is most appreciated…I know we are in tough times, but every dollar helps.

Please help me do it for Colin and for all the other children like him!