‘I believe people with Down syndrome can do anything—really, really anything!’
“I saw a video in 2014 about people helping to welcome babies with Down syndrome. I was shocked. The video says, ‘Welcome to the family. Welcome to the world.’ That’s when I realized that most parents of newborns with Down syndrome only hear, ‘I’m sorry.’ Sometimes they’re told, ‘Don’t take the baby home.’
“I told my parents my heart wanted to help so badly to tell parents it’s going to be okay, to celebrate this baby because it’s a baby. I wanted to make baskets to welcome them. We made Brittany’s Baskets of Hope with a website and social media. We hooked up with Down syndrome associations on their list of resources.
“In 2016, I delivered my first basket. Parents of little boys and girls with Down syndrome get a basket with sunglasses, bottles, pacifiers, toys, books, a Down Right Perfect onesie and resources. Some people donate knitted booties, hats and crocheted blankets. We’ve sent out 1,415 baskets. The entire world gets the baskets from us.
I’m a role model so that they know that life is going to be okay and their baby’s going to live a great life.
“When we have a local baby, we ask if we could deliver it in person and that’s the best part. I say, ‘Welcome to the family. Welcome to the world.’ I know the moms are worried about whether their babies are going to be healthy, if they’re going to be accepted and if people are going to make fun of them. I tell them, ‘You can do whatever you want.’ I’m a role model so that they know that life is going to be okay and their baby’s going to live a great life. I always say I believe people with Down syndrome can do anything — really, really anything! I’m 32. I live my life the way I want. I have a good life. I love to sing and dance. I do carpool karaoke with my staff through an adult program called Self Direction who help me. I go to beaches, movies, out to dinner and vineyards. I work at Party City.
“We want moms of new babies to know that it’s going to be okay. I was the L’Oréal Paris 2019 Women of Worth national honoree. I walked the red carpet and met celebrities. I was invited to LA to do a video and ads for their 2020 campaign. My favorite part of doing this work is when I get to hold the babies. Down syndrome is not the only part of me. I want the message not to be ‘I’m sorry,’ but ‘Congratulations. We so welcome this baby.’”