It all began with an extra chromosome.
Both Lili and Zach -- and an additional 6,000 babies each year in the United States -- have an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition and typically means an individual will have low muscle tone, small stature and significant developmental delays. It can also mean additional stresses and worries beyond the scope of what most parents and loved ones experience with a child -- therapies, doctors and specialists, health concerns and fighting for rights in education, employment and community. It can be lonely.
It all began with friendship.
Finding a community and support network as one navigates the adventure of Down syndrome can make the journey less isolating and lonely. When Diany and Wendy became friends in 2017, it was an immediate bond. This something "huge" in each other's lives felt much more manageable when the two families got together. Lili and Zach are friends, too, and their friendship proves that a chromosome can mean very little when kiddos are happy and healthy and having fun.
We hope that Friendship by LiliZach will make new parents, loved one, community members, teachers and health professionals realize the beautiful truths about Down syndrome and will help create a network of support and love.
Friendship by LiliZach is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based out of Frederick County, Maryland, with a mission of: providing resources and support to new parents of a child with Down syndrome; and, educate and empower those with a tremendous impact on families. We want to celebrate a Down syndrome diagnosis from the very beginning.
Future Ideas & Projects
Donation of totes filled with baby gifts, resources on Down syndrome and local groups and assistance to new parents. (Beginning in Summer 2018!)
Work with health professionals to improve the way that diagnoses of Down syndrome are given to expecting and new parents, plus create more information on what they can expect and what first steps they should look into in their particular community. (Coming soon!)
Create local communities of acceptance, awareness and ongoing dialogue through events and education relating to Down syndrome.
Assist employers in hiring and creating thriving and hard-working employees for their businesses -- employees who have Down syndrome and can provide meaningful impact on those businesses.
And more to come!