Tom Baird (Proud Dad of Chase) Business owner -Chairman of the Board
Kay Bradshaw (Proud mom of Parker) Educator Board Treasurer
Seth Johnson J.D.- Attorney- Board Secretary
Sheri Reed Special Educator Mesa School District
Chris Claridge (Proud Dad of Conner and Cailie) CPA Chandler Regional Hospital Board Member
Sharon Baird (Proud Mom of Chase, xray technician) Board Member
David Case (Proud Dad of Andrew) employer - US Air Center
Dr. Curtis Johnson (Proud Dad of David) Self-employed Dentist
Andy Fletcher (Proud Dad of Ethan) Internet Technolgy
Virginia (Gina) Johnson (Proud Mom of David) Founder Executive Director of Sharing Down Sydndrome Arizona - Board Member
CELEBRATING DOWN SYNDROME
Down syndrome is the most common genetic birth defect occurring 1 in approximately every 700 births. Babies with Down syndrome often have other medical complications including: nearly 50 % needing open heart surgery, intestinal blockages, developmental delays, hearing and vision impairments and being mild to moderately mentally disabled. But when children with Down syndrome are given proper medical treatment and educational opportunities, they can grow up to become happy successful members of society who make our world a better place to live.
Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona was founded 1991 by Virginia (Gina) Johnson, the proud mother of seven great children including her son David (now 27) who has Down syndrome. When Gina’s son David, was born a critically ill newborn baby, she felt afraid but when he was diagnosed with Down syndrome she felt as if her world had come crashing down around her.
The information medical professionals gave to Gina about her son only made her grieve all the more. They seemed only to tell her all her son would not do or ever be. But soon Gina realized the doctors, though well meaning, forgot to tell her the most important fact of all…that she would love her son with all her heart.
Gina never wanted another mother or father to grieve as much as she did when her son was born so on a warm July evening in 1991 she invited 5 families into her home to "share" the joys and unique challenges that come when raising a child with Down syndrome. Her wish was to educate, empower but mostly give hope to newly diagnosed families.
Sharing was founded to provide the needed positive parent support so families could go through the natural grieving process that would occur knowing they were not alone.
What began with five families now has grown to over 3,000 lucky enough to have a child with Down syndrome. Sharing provides NEW PARENT WELCOME FOLDERS to all 49 birthing hospitals. These folders are filled with relevant and current information about Down syndrome.
As soon as the social worker calls to refer a new family, Sharing sends a trained parent mentor who will personally visit the family in the hospital to provide the positive emotional support they will need. They also deliver a beautiful NEW PARENT GIFT PACKAGE filled with books (Babies with Down syndrome, a New Parent Guide, Changed by a Child, Hope for the Families, Gifts- Mother share how a child with Down syndrome has enriched their lives, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Children with Special Needs), DVD Signing Times, CD (Far Different Places by Janice Kapp Perry), a beautiful Journal with the baby’s name and birth date imprinted and even their boastful bumper sticker, “My Kid Has More Chromosomes Than Your Kid!" and more.
For the past 20 years Sharing has hosted parent support meetings and educational workshops to help educate and empower parents but especially give hope. Sharing has received the Outstanding Parent Support organization for the past three years. Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona was the November 2009 recipient for the channel “12 Who Care Award”.
ALL SHARING PARENT SUPPORT MEETINGS AND
EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOPS FREE TO FAMILIES