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I have a beautiful granddaughter who was born with Down syndrome. She has enough challenges to face in her life and I want to make sure that finding appropriately fitting clothes will not be one of them.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The NDSC Conference – our first event

At last Jillian and I are ready to leave for the conference.  I am so relieved that our last shipment arrived in the nick of time and the weather is perfect.  We leave Cleveland without a hitch and arrive in Orlando as scheduled.  A short ride to the hotel and we’re ready to check in.

After we settle in and unpack our clothes, we take a walk around the hotel grounds.  It’s a huge resort and there are people everywhere with Down syndrome.  They are every age, size and shape.  I look at all the body shapes and wonder how our jeans and shirts will fit them.  I hope we get lots of people to stop by our booth and try them on.  We’re just here to see how they fit, we have nothing to sell.  This is it, the big test!

We’re a little nervous about the next few days but we’re excited at the same time.  Here we are at last with a year’s worth of work behind us and have we no idea what the outcome will be.  We head to the registration booth and find out what the procedure is for the exhibitors.  I’ve never done anything like this before, so I must learn the “ropes”.  We get our instructions and pray that the package with our dressing room and half our clothes arrived here safe and sound.

Finally, we’re allowed into the exhibitors’ hall to prepare our booth.  There it is, the huge box containing our dressing room.  We breathe a sigh of relief.  We start unpacking and realize we’ve forgotten the instructions on how to assemble all the pieces.  Well, Jillian and I make a great team.  In no time at all (and lots of laughs) it’s assembled, we figured it out!  We hang the curtains, unpack all our jeans and shirts and prepare our display table.  We’re ready to go.

The room is filled with all kinds of displays.  We wander around the room for a while and meet some of the other exhibitors.  There is such a variety of vendors such as educational material for new parents, special toys, jewelry made by people with Down syndrome who have started their own small business, books, even special glasses frames made for people with Down syndrome; there must be more than one hundred exhibitors.

Just across from us, there is a young man with Down syndrome setting up an unusual display.  We watch with interest as he and another man, who appears to be his father, put up a huge net.  We also see a set of golf clubs sitting there that look like they may be for children.  The young man looks like he may be in his twenties and is dressed in shorts and a golf shirt.  His stature is not like a person with Down syndrome at all.  He’s very tall and looks like an athlete.  When they are done setting up their display, I finally ask the father about what they do.  He tells me his son is a golf pro for people with Down syndrome and they sell specially made golf clubs as well.  His son travels the country giving lectures and teaching golf.  I was so impressed by this young man’s special gift.  He was also one of the speakers at the conference. 
There are no limits that I can see for people who have Down syndrome.  Being at this conference and seeing all the people in attendance made me realize how much opportunity and support there is available and the endless possibilities for people with Down syndrome.

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