#Thankful #Blessed by #SelfAdvocateRoleModels

I am blessed. I could write those three words and that is a blog in itself.  One of my blessings, our blessings, is the role of the many self-advocates who have come before Rachel.

I don’t remember when I first became aware of Carrie Bergeron.  I just remember she was at many of the conventions I attended when Rachel was little. I just remember her being there.  And I remember her mom and her encouraging smile.  I do remember when we brought Carrie to Memphis to speak at a mini-conference we were hosting.  That’s when I had the opportunity to interact with her and her mom more.  I realized what I had always suspected. They were just good people.  Through the years, we have stayed in touch.  I always look forward to seeing Carrie and her mom at national meetings. Both Carrie and her mom have encouraged me and have been great role models for both me and Rachel.

I love note cards. I think there is nothing better than a handwritten note. While email and social media have replaced so much and I do lean on those tools to communicate, I still write lots of handwritten notes. My husband says I keep Hallmark and the post office in business.  I especially like unique cards and cards with a special meaning.  I usually purchase some packages of cards from individuals with Down syndrome at the National Down Syndrome Congress Convention, but I didn’t make it there this year.

Those many years ago when I was getting to know Carrie, I found some beautiful, unique cards she sold.  They are called “Special Tomato” cards. You can read about Carrie and learn about the Special Tomato deal here – Carrie Bergon – Special Tomato.  Of course, I was beyond thrilled when I found these unique cards on the site.

 

I bought many packages and used them myself, but I found them to be a lovely little gift for a teacher, a friend, whatever.  Another great way to spread awareness too.  Carrie’s website is listed on the back and so is Michael Johnson’s. Michael is an artist who happens to have Down syndrome and the paintings on these cards are credited to him. Since I didn’t make it to the convention this year, I discovered I am out of cards. Then, I remembered Carrie’s cards. I’ve not had any in several years. I reached out to Carrie and her mom to find out the best way to re-stock.  So, I’m restocked in cards that are not only perfect in size (you can include a picture) but they are bright, colorful, make me smile, raise awareness, support a person with Down syndrome in business and remind me of someone lovely and her family.

I am thankful for people like Carrie and her parents who paved the path for my Rachel and so many of us.  I wanted to share this with you as a way of thanking Carrie and her family for their leadership, grace, courage, but mostly just for living life well as an example for everyone whether you have Down syndrome or not. And I hope that some of you will purchase some of her beautiful cards.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. #Iamblessed.

 

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