The first three months of Abby’s life were spent in CHOP’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Now almost 2, Abby is a healthy, energetic toddler who loves reading, Sesame Street and her rocking horse, “Thunder.” Abby came to the Trisomy 21 clinic as a baby. She sees multiple CHOP specialists, and through physical, occupational and speech therapy, continues to develop — she already knows 25 signs! Last year, Abby’s CHOP Buddy Walk® team raised almost $5,000 for the Trisomy 21 Program. With the program’s support, Abby’s parents hope she’ll achieve her future dreams, have a fulfilling job and help her community see the benefits of inclusion.
Known to his family as “the mayor,” 4-year-old Bryant is funny and kind and loves being the center of attention! He also loves swimming and music. When he’s finished strumming his toy guitar, Bryant will make sure to bow and wait for applause. Bryant’s best friend is his older brother; “brother” was one of his first words. Since then, he’s learned many more words and loves talking to his family. When Bryant first visited the Trisomy 21 Program, the program’s director told his parents that with support, Bryant could accomplish all his future goals. “We knew we were in the right place,” says Bryant’s mom.
Five-year-old Derek is silly, empathetic and determined. He loves kindergarten and playing with his new friends. Derek’s been a patient of the Trisomy 21 Program since he was 6 months old, and continues to see specialists in developmental pediatrics, gastroenterology, hematology and ear, nose and throat. “We are so lucky to have this amazing program in our backyard,” Derek’s mom says. Even though the CHOP Buddy Walk® is virtual this year, his mom says, “We wouldn’t miss celebrating Derek and all of his amazing friends. Like our team name says, we’re ‘doing it for Derek’!”
If you watched Josh, 9, play basketball, you’d never know he entered the world at only three pounds. This Harlem Globetrotters fan is now often found practicing his b-ball skills or playing tag with his friends — as long he gets to be “it”! Josh sees multiple CHOP specialists, all coordinated through the Trisomy 21 Program. When he was diagnosed with celiac disease and apraxia — a speech disorder — his mom was grateful that the Trisomy 21 Program was there to help Josh meet these challenges head on. “There is no greater relief as a parent than knowing a trained team is making sure your child’s needs will never go overlooked,” she says.
Sassy, determined and empathetic, 3-year-old Lila is a big fan of the Trisomy 21 Program — she’s always ready with a fist-bump for her favorite staff members. Lila’s come a long way since she took her first steps in the clinic hallway. Now she can run and jump and even takes gymnastics! When she’s not playing with her older siblings, she’s caring for her dolls or dancing to her favorite Disney movie. Lila takes speech therapy and communicates through verbal and sign language. Her family is grateful for the support of the Trisomy 21 Program. “They take the time to know her,” says Lila’s mom. “They want the best for her.”
Paxtyn is a spitfire of energy; always dancing, singing and talking! Some of her self-created routines have been broadcast on YouTube, which 3-year-old Paxtyn loves to watch. The preschooler loves to help her older sisters Payton, 13, and Paige, 12, work on projects; she knows about 80 words in sign language; and recently learned how to walk up steps on her own. Since the family’s first visit to the Trisomy 21 Program at CHOP, “we fell in love with Dr. Downes and all the staff,” her mom says. “Paxtyn gets very excited when we tell her she has an appointment.”
Ravi, 14, enjoys swimming, basketball, dancing and music — so much so that he dreams of one day being cast on The Voice Kids! He’s also a big eater and loves cooking. In fact, Ravi recently learned how to crack an egg by himself! Milestones like this are celebrated by Ravi, his family and his team at the Trisomy 21 Program, which has been instrumental in helping Ravi achieve his goals. This fall, he’s looking forward to high school, where he’ll attend the same school as his older brother. Ravi’s positivity was awarded in eighth grade when he received the principal’s Lighthouse Award, which goes to a student that serves as a “beacon of light,” spreading positivity throughout the school.
At 2½ years old, Audrey loves splashing in water, petting her cat, watching Sesame Street and eating goldfish crackers.
When Brody was born, his parents were shocked to learn he had Down syndrome. Today, they’ve learned to embrace the unexpected with their 12-year-old son.
For 15-year-old Eve, every day is a new adventure and she can’t wait to see what’s next: fashion, sports or travel.
Grace is a happy, friendly 2-year-old who loves to wave and smile at strangers. She also loves music, balls and her baby dolls.
For 4-year-old Gregory, the CHOP Buddy Walk® is like his special holiday, when he sees all his favorite people and enjoys his favorite activities.
Jasmin has come a long way since her first CHOP Buddy Walk® in 2004. Today, the 16-year-old is a 10th grader who loves dance, Special Olympics and her family.
After an unexpected diagnosis of Down syndrome, Jeremiah’s parents celebrate each significant milestone in their 16-month-old’s life with a theme party.
Kailani, 9, can be described many ways: outgoing, friendly, fearless. But the word she likes best is “amazing” because it reminds her of a contest she won.
Kendall, 2, is thriving with Down syndrome and serves as an inspiration for new parents learning to embrace their child’s diagnosis.
At 11 years old, Neva is confident and full of joy. The trailblazing preteen is ready for anything with the support of her close-knit family.
First grade was a turning point for 7-year-old Aadi — and the start of new milestones in his development.
Breakthroughs happen every day for 1-year-old Aidan and his family can’t wait to see what he discovers next.
Not much can contain the whirlwind known as Emilio. At 6½ years old, he’s the de-facto mayor at his school: Everyone knows his name.
26-year-old Eric loves swimming, playing basketball and working in the store he owns with his mom.
At 21-months-old, Hazel is a bright, happy baby who loves to smile, wave and meet new people.
A devoted sports fan, 15-year-old Lily will lead a team of her own this fall at the CHOP Buddy Walk®.
A hobby in photography has grown into a small business for 22-year-old Nate, who hopes to one day get an apartment of his own.
The future is bright for 18-month-old Regan. She loves her baby doll, her dog Walter, and making people laugh.
Rosie, 10, was born to be a star. With the support of her family and friends, she’s making a name for herself at school and in the community.
A keen negotiator with a kind heart, 10-year-old Ava lives her life with vigor as she enjoys her favorite things.
As a high-energy 4-year-old, Celia is conquering the world one obstacle at a time.
With a magnetic personality, 6-year-old Evan makes friends easily and loves school.
With her kind soul and gentle spirit, 9-year-old Giulianna wants to change the world.
Kara, 12, was the first student with Down syndrome to be “mainstreamed” in Upper Darby School District.
Since starting high school, 18-year-old Kate has flourished academically and socially.
Michael, 20, is friendly and outgoing – and has a very bright future.
After a slow start, 5-year-old Porter is on his way to his next adventure.
No matter the obstacle, 24-year-old Stephanie is ready to meet the challenge.
Steven, 19, is determined to make his dream of college come true.
Teddy’s enthusiasm is infectious – whether he’s doing a school project, playing piano or just making people smile.