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January 2015

From my heart to yours2

Dearest Beloved Friends,


I have a confession to make! Many years ago whenever I would see gray haired parents out and about with an adult son or daughter with Down syndrome I admit I felt a little sorry for them. I thought they had no choice but to journey through their life with their child still by their side.  I thought that they must not have much of a life with having to care for their child, but that was before our son David turned 31.



Several weeks ago just the three of us, Curt, David and I, went to have dinner at Valle Luna Mexican restaurant. Ironically the owners Jane and her husband,  now are the proud grandparents of grandson Brody who has Down syndrome, but long before he was born they have been hosting events to help us further the good work we do through Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona. 


Proud Daddy Rob Bigler & Brody


It was a busy night and so we sat there quietly waiting our turn to be seated.  Curt and I were taking about the great strides forward our son was making since he began seeing Shanna at Baio Speech Therapy.   We were then just sitting there quietly when I saw a gorgeous young woman about age 23 walk through the door. 


Her outfit caught my eye (as it did everyone in the place) not because it was slightly immodest but it certainly was one that called attention to her beautiful and fit body.  She had on a see-through sheer blouse with a camisole beneath.  "Foxy" would have been the word of my day to describe this gorgeous woman.  I watched David sit up and take notice right away, just as most of the men in the place did, but I was unprepared for what would happen next.


Due to David's hearing loss he has a language delay.  He knows what he wants to say but at time it is difficult for him to get the words out. And yet in that moment, and clear as a bell I hear him say loudly, "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa!  WELL LOOK AT YOU!!!"  I was mortified and didn't know what to do! Thankfully the young woman took it as the compliment it was intended to be and just smiled as she walked by.



In that moment I simultaneously wanted to scold David and yet praise him for his perfectly delivered statement that every man in that room was thinking but were too polite to say.  I was secretly cheering this milestone, however inappropriate, and when everyone laughed I did too. 



I never know what I am going to get with my son.  On January 8th my husband took us out to dinner again to celebrate my very young 63rd birthday.  It was fun hearing David try to repeat the Japanese phrases his brother Seth had taught him and the server even understood his words. I was so proud.  I saw him engage a woman and her husband sitting next to him at Benihana's.  It did not surprise me to find out later she is a special educator in Gilbert.


I used to get a little embarrassed not know what would come next from  David but not anymore...even when the server wanted to take our picture and this is the best we got.  LOL 



So if one day you are lucky enough to get a little older and a little grayer, I have good news for you. This wonderful journey that began the day your baby was born gets even better. 


"The only journey is the one within."

~Rainer Maria Rilke


Love, David's Mom (aka Gina Campbell Johnson) 









Register Now for the Super Baby Sign Language Workshop!!

Thursday, January 22nd,
7:00-9:00 PM
Mesa Student Services Building

Register Now!

This workshop will be taught by my dear friend Cara Ortiz who was my son David's Sign Language teacher when he was in the 9th grade at Gilbert High School. 

We also had this class last year and it was one of our most popular workshops of the year! Click the "Find Tickets" link to register. It's free to attend. Respite provided.

Cara Ortiz  

Registration is Now Open for Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona Golf Tournament!!

We are excited to announce that Proud Parent Michael Annala of Smith and Annala Engineering is once again
hosting a golf tournament to benefit Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona!

Friday, March 20, 2015 




March 1, 2015



Longest Drive

Longest Putt

Team Score (1st - 3rd)


And Other


Special Thanks!!!

I just wanted to take a few minutes to say "Thank YOU!" to all of the wonderful people who help Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona!!

Thank you to my amazing staff who give their very best! 


Thank you Mary Ellen and Jim Robson and Marisa for once again hosting our Eastside Breakfast with Santa at Rockin' R Ranch!



Thank you Brian and Kelli Fritzler for hosting such an amazing Westside Christmas party!




Thank you Tish & Dan Hurd family (with daughter Mattie) for for donating the 6 New Balance bikes you won to Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona!   




THANK YOU to our dear Phoenix Coyotes and player Mikkel Boedker for inviting us to the luxury suite, the great food, the fun tee shirts but even more the great time spent downstairs with him getting pictures!


Congratulations, Dr. Byron J. Garn, 
(pictured with Randi Mae and Jeri Padilla) 

Recommended Resources:

Katie Krietemeyer
All Aboard Services, LLC

All Aboard Services, LLC is contracted with the Department of Developmental Disabilities to provide habilitation, respite and attendant care services.

Rebeca Lopez
Milestone Pediatrics
(480) 322-1927

Contracted with DDD to provide respite care and habilitation services.


All recommended resources are approved by Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona, however, we are not responsible for their services. If you have any issues, please contact the service provider directly.



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