Our 3/21 Pledge Committee is made up of passionate people who believe in the Ruby’s Rainbow mission of helping peeps rockin’ that extra chromosome go for their college dreams!!

We are excited and honored to partner with our Pledge Committee members to continue raising expectations, awareness and funds to support adult students with Down syndrome, while showing the world just what they are made of!!!

Taking the 3/21 Pledge in a Committee Member’s honor?

Scroll down, click on their name and scroll back up (if needed) to view their photo and bio. From there, you can click on the blue “3/21 Pledge Page” link to view their donation page!

(What is the 3/21 Pledge? Click HERE to find out more!!)

Join the 3/21 Pledge Committee

Interested in joining the 3/21 Pledge Committee and making a difference in the lives of people with Down syndrome?

Our organization relies on passionate people like YOU to help us do what we do, and we are so grateful for the love and support! Check out the video above to learn a little more about the Pledge Committee. Then fill out the information below and we will get back to you with all the details!!

Rachel Drake3/21 Pledge Page for Rachel Drake for Sully Drake Family & Friends Scholarship

You never forget the day you give birth to your child. I remember general details about having my son (he’s a handsome, hilarious 46’er) but I think I could tell you about every second of the day after having my daughter, Sully. Sully surprised us ALL at birth with Down syndrome.

It’s been quite a journey. An incredible journey. I had Sully at our local rural hospital and when she came out there was no denying our sweet girl had an extra chromosome. Sully had some difficulty breathing and she was quickly transferred to a higher level of care at Texas Children’s Hospital where we spent the next 102 days fighting for her life. We jokingly refer to our time at TCH as our vacation. Not your fun relaxing kind of vacation but more like the kind where someone drops you off in the wilderness and says you’ll figure it out, good luck.

We did figure it out. Took a few weeks but we soon became hospital experts and quickly felt like we had actually been to medical school. You needed directions? We were you’re people. Not sure where to eat? We got you. Where’s the cleanest one-holer bathroom? Floor 4 down the hall from the NICU check in desk. It was a vacation that provided a lifetime of memories, good and bad. If you’ve spent any amount of time in a hospital you know there is an insane amount of time for your thoughts to consume your soul.

We didn’t know the first thing about Down syndrome and while my husband has coached Special Olympics for 15 years we didn’t know know things about DS, I’d say we knew of it. So while Sully’s tiny body was hooked to monitors and IV’s in her isolette I googled Down syndrome on my phone and read everything I could get my hands on. Some articles would just suck the life out of me and I would be overcome with grief at what articles would say life would be like for Sully.

But I kept googling and one day I stumbled across Ruby’s Rainbow. While cheesy to say, it was like the clouds parted and a ray of sunshine was shining directly on me and Sully in that dark quiet NICU. I still remember that day and telling my husband what I had found. To find a mom who was helping adults with Down syndrome go to college, COLLEGE, was the most hope I had had since Sully was born. While Liz doesn’t know she had such an impact on me I am forever grateful to her for showing me my daughter was worthy of everything.

EVERY. THING.

So it was a no brainer that we wanted to help Ruby’s Rainbow. We are not wealthy people but our tribe is strong and with them we have been able to raise funds and provide scholarships to three beautiful, intelligent women with Down syndrome. We hope to keep it going for many many years!

Liz’s 3/21 Pledge Page

Since 2016, Warriors For Walt has partnered with Ruby’s Rainbow for the 321 Pledge. Our Walt’s Warriors keep on ROCKIN’ IT on fundraising, and we have raised over $11,000 for Ruby’s Rainbow’s Warriors For Walt Scholarship Recipients!

Warriors For Walt honors our son, Walt the Warrior, who passed away at the young age of 9months. Our mission is to provide financial support to nonprofits creating awareness, inclusion and opportunity for individuals with special needs and give hope to families suffering the loss of their child. We hope you find Warriors for Walt as a gathering place for information, for support, for inspiration to help make the world a better place for ALL people of ALL abilities.

Kimberley WiedenfeldKimberley’s 3/21 Pledge Page

The summer before Kate turned two, I posted a picture of our family on the beach in California with the caption “Eighteen months ago, I don’t think I imagined that our life would be this much fun. So thankful I was wrong.” I remember sitting on the beach, watching my daughter walk hand-in-hand with my husband down the sand, and her brother, not quite 4, building castles and smashing them and running into the water and squealing. I was amazed that I was sitting on the beach, doing exactly what I had hoped for and dreamed of before having children. And I was surprised by joy.

As it goes in southern California, it was a very hot day in September, in 2012, when our daughter came rushing into the world. She nearly sprinted out, leaving no time for the nurse, let alone a doctor to even catch her. What was surprising was that as quickly as she showed up, she was whisked away by a team of nurses and doctors, talking in hushed tones. Eventually, as a reply to my repeated, “Is she ok? Is everything ok? What’s wrong?”, a neonatologist with a gentle voice and kind eyes came to my bedside. He spoke softly as he communicated that there were concerns about my daughter’s heart and lungs, and then he said, “Have you heard of Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome?” As he talked through the reasons why he suspected Kate might have the extra copy of the 21st chromosome, things kind of became blurry and I listened as if an observer from outside or above the room—not as a participant.

Kate would be rushed off to a higher level hospital with my husband by ambulance, and I would follow a few hours later. For six weeks in that NICU, my husband and I would sit bedside with Kate—we would rock, and sing, and pray, and cry, and read, and write, and wonder when we might get to take her home to meet her not-yet-two-year-old brother. We would learn her lungs were just fine, but she had two holes in her heart. And I remember sitting there, wondering if our life would be fun, or if it would be a serious, sort of sad, and pretty tough new life. The hope for Joshua having a kindred playmate so close in age seemed dashed. And my ideas of what a happy little family of four would do seemed tossed to the waves. I didn’t think life was over—but I did think it would never be the same, nor would it be what I had dreamed of.

Well, she’s only five, but I can say that I was right about that last part—our life would never be the same, nor what I had dreamed of. But that day on the beach, and the realization that our life was full of joy was the beginning of seeing that our world had expanded a hundredfold because God gave us Kate. Our life is much more like most of our friends—we go to the beach, we take family vacations, we have siblings who fight and make-up and then go back to arguing. Sure, there are more obstacles and processes and paperwork and specialists. But because of Kate, God gave us new eyes to see beyond the artificial limits we placed on our life and how it needed to be lived. We have taken more risks and tried new things and lived season by season and made friends we would have never known– gosh, has God used Kate to open up the world to us.

She’s a persistent and determined little girl, every bit as sassy as she is cute. She loves to bake. She belts out songs at the top of her lungs—off key, but full-hearted, nonetheless. And depending on her mood, she might give you the cold shoulder, or, she might greet you with the most enthusiastic welcome you’ve ever encountered. She’s in kindergarten with typical peers and loving it. Her speech is exploding right along with her attitude. She knows enough sight words to read some basic books and astounds me with her empathy for others. Because of Ruby’s Rainbow, and the way Liz has chosen to pursue her dreams for individuals with Down syndrome, we have dreams of college for Kate–and perhaps her own bakery! In fact, two years ago, we moved our family across the country so that I could work at Roberts Wesleyan College, an institution of higher ed that also values education for all abilities. At Roberts, both Kate and Joshua can dream about becoming future Redhawks one day!

Our deepest desire for Kate is that she will know how much she is loved–created in the image of God, and made to live in community. To be a friend and to be loved by friends. I don’t know what Kate’s future holds, but if these first 5 years are any indication, this will be an adventure I wouldn’t want to miss.

Heather BirdHeather’s 3/21 Pledge Page

I am a runner, photographer, product manager, mother to four beautiful, unique boys and wife to an amazing man. Our life is busy and loud and hectic and filled with so much JOY. I manage my life on little sleep but lots of love.

When our youngest, Zeke, was born we were surprised to find out he had Down syndrome. After the overload of information on potential medical issues and limitations he would face, none of which offered any comfort to the initial shock of this diagnosis, Ruby’s Rainbow was a welcomed breath of fresh air.

Story after story of Ruby’s Rainbow recipients brought joy and hope. Almost immediately our focus changed to all of the things that our amazing Zeke COULD and WOULD do. As I tell people of Ruby’s Rainbow, I continue to watch person after person being absolutely wowed by what the recipients are accomplishing. We are honored to share these stories and support Ruby’s Rainbow as they continue to WOW the world by helping change the perception of what it means to have Down syndrome.

Elizabeth NoelElizabeth’s 3/21 Pledge Page

I am Elizabeth Noel. I am married to my husband, Bryan, and he’s awesome! We have two sons, Dex and Gus, who both rock extra chromosomes. They came to our family through domestic adoption.

I am so thankful that I get to be their momma and they have introduced me to the amazing Down syndrome community. I am an adoption consultant, a blogger, and a stay at home momma. There is never a dull moment around here, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Emily Lovrin BaxterEmily’s 3/21 Pledge Page

Our Lovrin is the youngest of four, and she has blessed our family in ways that she will never know. She is now two years old and starting to get her own little personality, fitting right in with this wild crew!

When she was first born, I needed to do something for her, for me, for us as a family. Some friends reached out asking how they could help support us, which ultimately led us to wanting to raise money for Ruby’s Rainbow. It gave me hope in a time that I was really unsure about a lot. We raised over $3,000 through our family and friends and a generous donation from our favorite Bar-B-Que cart.

I am hopeful and inspired. Every year seems to get bigger in terms of my passion for spreading awareness for the value and capabilities people with Down syndrome have in our world.

Amy KnueppelAmy’s 3/21 Pledge Page

Amy is the mother to three kids, all of them special in their own way! Her middle child, Wesley, was diagnosed with Down syndrome four days after he was born. This started her on a path of advocacy for people with disabilities and Special Needs. Little did she know that advocacy would come in handy when her oldest, Vivian, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 4.

Amy and her husband adopted their youngest, Louis, from China. He had a medical issue that was corrected in China, but has additional needs that have come to light since coming home. Amy is a former Texan (Sic ‘Em Bears!) who became aware of Ruby’s Rainbow through friends after Wesley’s birth. After hearing adults with Down syndrome speak about their continuing education, which was made possible in part by a RR scholarship, Amy decided to take on a bigger role in the 321 Pledge campaign.

Amy is also currently in talks with two different universities about starting programs on their campus to provide adults with Intellectual Disabilities the opportunity to receive a post-secondary education.

Caroline GivnishCaroline’s 3/21 Pledge Page

We received Lucy’s diagnosis prenatally at 14 weeks via CVS testing. At 30 years old and being our first pregnancy, it was all very unexpected (although, now of course I know that most pregnancies with a diagnosis of Down syndrome occur before age 35!).

Quite honestly, I was thrown into a state of grief that unfortunately clouded a good part of my pregnancy, but I was also glad that I was prepared for any necessary post-natal medical care (so far, none!) and other intervention services. When I was 8 months pregnant with Lucy, I stumbled upon Ruby’s Rainbow: I was reading Kelle Hampton’s “Enjoying the Small Things” blog where she featured a story about the 3/21 Pledge. I had never heard of post-secondary education programs for people with Intellectual Disabilities and it filled my heart with so much optimism for Lucy’s future.

Ruby’s Rainbow’s made me realize that I didn’t have to give up on any of my dreams for Lucy just because she is rockin’ an extra chromosome. Knowing that there’s an organization like Ruby’s Rainbow who believes so deeply in giving Lucy’s peers the tools they deserve to realize their full potential – it means everything! Fast forward 2 years… we have the most incredible, beautiful, smart, funny daughter who has brought so much joy into our lives (and everyone who is lucky enough to know her). I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our Lucy, I know she will move mountains.

Lindsey Kloeckner

Lindsey’s 3/21 Pledge Page

Lindsey is married to Rich, and together they are raising two beautiful daughters that are the lights of their lives. Grace, age 5, is one of the funniest little girls you’ll ever meet. Natalie, age 2, is a silly little love bug. Natalie also happens to be rocking an extra chromosome. The day Natalie was born, Lindsey told her husband that she was going to go to college like her big sister, but wasn’t sure if it was a possibility.

Shortly after, Lindsey learned of Ruby’s Rainbow and became an instant supporter of the organization. Each time she read a story about a Rockin’ Recipient, she became more hopeful about her daughter’s future. Lindsey joined the pledge committee in 2016.

When she’s not working, or chasing after her littles, she enjoys writing about her journey on her blog. Lindsey also enjoys taking solo trips to Target to comb through the dollar spot.

You can follow her at thingsimlearningnow.wordpress.com.

Bridget’s 3/21 Pledge Page

I am the proud mom of Mary (3) who is rockin’ that extra chromosome, and Bre Bre (stepmom) to Gianna (8). Along with my husband Marc, they are my world.

I have been fortunate to be a part of the Ruby’s Rainbow fundraising committee and spreading the word of this incredible organization for the 2nd year in a row. By Ruby’s Rainbow giving young men and women with Down syndrome an opportunity to pursue higher education this allows them to learn valuable life skills, and grow their abilities. Inclusion and embracing our kids abilities is very important to me and Ruby’s Rainbow is at the forefront of this movement.

Like Liz, Ruby’s mom, higher education is a dream that I have for my daughter. I’m proud to be a part of Ruby’s Rainbow to help make the dreams of higher education for others with Down syndrome and one day my own daughter come true.

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Scroll up to view Bridget’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Stephanie SeguinStephanie’s 3/21 Pledge Page

I am a wife, mom to two little girls, and an educator living in Canada across the border from Detroit.

When our daughter Hazel was born in 2012, I was inspired to do my part to advocate for those with Down syndrome within my community, eventually starting a foundation in Hazel’s name where I promote local programs, assist families in need, and raise awareness about the true capabilities of those with DS. I am thrilled to support Ruby’s Rainbow, because as a teacher, I believe education fills our life with choice, independence, and opportunity. As a mother, Ruby’s Rainbow shares a powerful message of hope to all the brand new families out there, that people with Down syndrome are worthy and capable of the same future as every other child.

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Scroll up to view Stephanie’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Erin MorrowErin’s 3/21 Pledge Page

I am a 37-year-old full-time working mom of three gorgeous girls (Jaya 8, Mila 4, and Kora 3). While growing up in Ames, Iowa, I attended school in Gilbert, Iowa. I then attended college at a few different schools in both Iowa and Ilinois. I took the plunge into marriage at a young age and have been married to my husband Ben for 15 years. My husband’s career eventually landed us in Chicago where I got my hankering for high heels and a good martini. After 4 years in the city, we decided to make the trip back to Iowa and made our home in Ankeny, where we started our family.

When I’m not working, trying to start home improvement projects that are way out of the scope of my expertise, or running kids around and trying to keep them fed, I am tying my hair back and taking in a game. My love of sports and exercise and trials as mom of the year (ha, ha) keep me on my toes.

The birth of our second daughter, Mila, gave us a diagnosis we were not expecting — Down syndrome. I am a novice. Mila is only 4; there is an abundance of knowledge for me to learn during this journey she has taken us on. I am involved with Ruby’s Rainbow because I want to bring awareness to a subject I had no knowledge about on the day Mila was born. The fact I had no knowledge significantly contributed to the fear and ignorance I felt. If there is anything I can do to help others become more educated as well, I am on board! Ruby’s Rainbow has inspired our family to help others realize this organization is helping to change the future for people with Down syndrome, and that it helps inspire people with Down syndrome to go to college and to fulfill their dreams — just like anyone else who aspires to do the same.

Dovon SedamDovon’s 3/21 Pledge Page

Hi, we are the Sedam Family. I am Dovon and have been married to my wonderful husband, Jared for 10 years. We have two awesome boys, our oldest is Henry age 6 and our youngest Miles age 3. We live in Providence, Ri. I am a full time mom part time Hairstylist and my husband is an Architect. Our son Miles came into this world with some eXtra surprises we were not aware of prior to his birth. He was born with two holes in his heart and the probable diagnosis of Down syndrome…and so a new journey began. Long story short….he would need heart surgery at six months old. We have learned so much along the the way. There are always going to be things to learn, but the things that remain a constant that we have tried to instill in our boys is love, kindness and the value and worth of all people.

Inclusion, possibilities, dreams are all words that come to mind for my children’s futures. We are so excited to join Ruby’s Rainbow and raise awareness and support for these young adults pursuing inclusion, discovering possibilities, and making their dreams attainable!

With much gratitude,
The Sedams

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Scroll up to view Dovon’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Emily KorzonEmily’s 3/21 Pledge Page

Heya! My name is Emily Korzon and this is my second year as a pledge committee member. I live in the coolest small town in America, Lititz, Pennsylvania with my husband, Andy, and our two children. Isla (eye-la), our oldest, just turned two in January and Jack was born in December. Life is very crazy right now with a two year old and a two month old, but it’s a perfect sort of crazy.

I got involved with Ruby’s Rainbow in 2016 after the birth of our daughter Isla, who is rocking’ an extra chromosome. When we got Isla’s diagnosis I was 20 weeks pregnant and terrified. Becoming a mother was scary enough, but finding out my child would have a disability totally overwhelmed me. I wondered if she would ever learn to drive, go to college, or get married. I was afraid she may not have the experiences I pictured for her.

When I found Ruby’s Rainbow it was like looking into a crystal ball and realizing everything would be okay. Actually, everything would be more than okay- it would be freakin’ awesome! I read bios and saw videos of the receipts and felt an overwhelming sense of peace. These recipients were articulate, funny, and smart! They were pursuing their interests without letting something as small as an extra chromosome get in their way. I suddenly knew Isla would be just fine.

Ruby’s Rainbow opened my eyes to what Isla’s future may look like- and it’s so much better than I ever could have imagined. Not only have I been a part of raising funds for some extraordinary individuals, but Ruby’s Rainbow has also connected me to other mamas across the country. This organization has truly changed my life!

Scroll up to view Emily’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Megan ChaffeeMegan’s 3/21 Pledge Page

My name is Megan. My husband and I have adopted a little Ethiopian Princess (4.5 years ago) and a China Babe (8 months ago) named Violet — our sweet girl who rocks that extra chromosome, who just turned 4. She is hands-down amazing, and is breaking barriers beyond our imagination.

We love to explore, play lots of Disney princesses and scare each other, and the dance parties over here are pretty stellar! We laugh a lot, and sometimes the curiosity levels in our house are nothing I would have expected. Water is always a favorite, along with a sweet treat. We spend a lot of time at Speech Therapy, working on hearing our little one’s words, but don’t worry — she has no problem telling us what she wants!

Violet recently started preschool, and she will be moving right along. As a family, we are so excited to be spreading the word about how important these Ruby’s Rainbow scholarship funds are for the students receiving them. The thought of these scholarships being available for our girl makes me want to reach for the sky and advocate like crazy. So, join me, won’t you?! It’s easy and so super fun!

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Scroll up to view Megan’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Katie’s 3/21 Pledge Page

Wife to Ty, mom to Charlie and Ansleigh. Owner of A Lil Something Extra.

I’m excited to be part of the pledge committee because Ruby’s Rainbow is changing lives and people’s perspectives of individuals with Down syndrome. What an amazing and beautiful thing Liz and her team have been able to accomplish.

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Scroll up to view Katie’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Maura DunnMaura’s 3/21 Pledge Page

Maura and her husband, Matt, live in New York with their four children, Sydney, Rowan, Jack and Grace, and Bob the dog. Their youngest, Grace, was born in October of 2014 and arrived with an extra 21st chromosome.

Maura is a teacher currently at home, or more often in the car, with her own children. Maura enjoys planning renovations on the family’s 250-year-old home on Long Island and spending time at the beach with her family. As an educator, and a mother, she is an advocate of inclusion.

Maura is thrilled to be a part of this year’s Pledge Committee. Maura and Matt often think how different the experience of Grace’s birth would have been if, instead of an apology, they were handed a brochure for Ruby’s Rainbow. They believe the message of hope and possibility spread through the work of Ruby’s Rainbow can change perception and create opportunity for their little girl and so many others.

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Scroll up to view Maura’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Nicole Wallace

Nicole’s 3/21 Pledge Page

Hi! I’m Nicole & I’m Mom to four awesome girls, two of which have Down syndrome. Reese, our biological daughter with Ds, is six & inspired us to adopt another little girl with Ds from China. Hazel is seven & has been a beloved member of our family for two years now. Both Reese & Hazel (affectionately referred to as Reezel) are rocking kindergarten, take dance & gymnastics, and are active supporters of Netflix & YouTube.

When I’m not momming, I work as an ICU nurse & cram as many foster animals into our house as possible. Our family is blessed to support Ruby’s Rainbow & love seeing these young adults pursue their dreams!

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Scroll up to view Nicole’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Heather’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Heather is wife to her handsome and hardworking man Josh, mother to the adorable Macyn, Truly and August, and author of The Lucky Few. After working as an Education Specialist, she found herself as a full-time stay-at-home mom when she and her husband adopted their first daughter, Macyn, in 2008. Shortly thereafter, in 2011, they adopted their second daughter, Truly. And in 2013, their son August was born and came home to be theirs.

Heather currently resides in Southern California, where, between oatmeal making, diaper changing and dance parties, she shares her heart by putting words on paper and using her hit Instagram account @theluckyfewofficial to share the awesomeness of all things Down syndrome and adoption. She cares fiercely for the underdog and believes God’s goodness and beauty are found in the most seemingly uncomfortable places.

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Scroll up to view Heather’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Tesney’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link & bio coming soon!)

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Scroll up to view Tesney’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Lindsey’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link & photo coming soon!)

Hi! I’m Lindsey Strickland. My husband, Daniel, and I live in Seattle, WA, with our four children and a very well-loved pet bunny. When our son, Jack, was a toddler we discovered he had some developmental delays, including apraxia of speech, due to a brain difference. While the grief that accompanied the unknown was very real, I found myself advocating fiercely to get Jack what he needed in order to reach his full potential. Once in the world of medical appointments and therapies, we experienced the joy and hope in the small things and knew we would grow our family through special-needs adoption.

Three-year-old Ben joined our family through international adoption in January 2016. It’s been a taxing few years of uncovering health issues and navigating major surgeries, but we absolutely cannot imagine life without our Benny Boy and his laughter. We hands-down agree that Down syndrome has truly made our family one of “the lucky few”!

Prior to becoming a mom, I provided community education, advocacy and support for children and families impacted by sexual assault. This is still something very near to my heart, and I believe empowering our children with Down syndrome to bravely pursue their dreams is exactly what our world needs. Thank you, Ruby’s Rainbow, for enriching our communities by supporting independence and education for adults with Down syndrome!

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Scroll up to view Lindsey’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Jamie’s 3/21 Pledge Page

Jamie Freeman is a Michigan Mama with a strong need to change the way the world feels, thinks, and reacts to Down syndrome.  When Benny, her son, was born in 2013 with that amazing extra chromosome, she felt the need to help new parents understand that receiving a Down syndrome diagnosis is the greatest blessing you never knew you wanted.  She began writing in a journal all the things she wanted to be able to say to herself back on the day Benny was diagnosed, then sent it along to a friend who also had a child with Down syndrome. This kept going and The Down Syndrome Diary was born. Today, there are fourteen diaries circulating twenty-one different countries visiting families who love someone with Down syndrome. Each family writes their story and passes it along to the next so that one day soon we can publish our words to hand to parents just hearing the words “Down syndrome” for the first time.
Ruby’s Rainbow is near and dear to Jamie’s heart as well for so many reasons, number one of which is seeing the hope and joy these scholarships bring to all the individuals and families they touch.

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Scroll up to view Jamie’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Shelley’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

My name is Shelley Bernis and I am a Speech-Language Pathologist. I have always had a special place in my heart for individuals with Down syndrome because my mom was a special education teacher and I had the privilege to see firsthand at an early age just how awesome people rockin’ that extra chromosome are. It is why I went to school to become an SLP! I have been working as an SLP for over 10 years and have loved every second of it. I was super excited when I got to work with Ruby a few years back because she is just the coolest, not to mention her family is pretty awesome too!

I am married to Warren and we have two boys, Wesley (5) and Jace (2). Our son Jace suffers from extreme food and environmental allergies, so I had to step back from working to focus on his care when he was one. After Jace’s allergies started to plateau, I slowly began working again, but I also started to develop some health issues and was diagnosed with a form of dysautonomia called POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), which left me unable to stand/walk for long periods or to drive. I am a true believer in focusing on ones abilities, not disabilities, so I didn’t let this diagnosis deter me from what I love to do. That’s when I came up with the idea of delivering speech services via an online therapy platform also known as telepractice.

Empower TeleSpeech Therapy was born in September 2018 with the idea of empowering young adults with Down Syndrome not only to FIND their voice but also to USE their voice to exercise their right to freedom of expression, a right granted to us ALL. My promise is to give my clients the tools and confidence they need to communicate effectively in pursuit of their dreams! Ruby’s Rainbow is helping individuals with Down Syndrome go for their dreams of higher education and independence and I couldn’t be any more proud to be a part of that!

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Scroll up to view Shelley’s bio and Pledge Page link!

3/21 Pledge Committee Member Steen Krause, center, with glasses and green shirt!

Steen’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Hi! My name is Steen Krause. I am a nanny and respite care provider who enjoys reading, running, and judo. But my truest love is working with individuals with disabilities.

In 2006, I volunteered for the first time at Camp Big Heart in Winder, Georgia. CBH is a respite camp for individuals of all ages who have developmental disabilities. I signed up for a week, stayed for two, and never looked back. Six summers at camp changed the trajectory of my life and made me who I am today.

After moving to Texas, I became a certified Special Olympics coach with a local team in 2015. I help out with most of the sports we offer, meaning I get to see my athletes year-round!

In 2016, I also began volunteering at Victory Therapy Center, a therapeutic riding center that provides equine therapy services. One of my athletes, Amy, expressed interest in volunteering at the barn, so we became a partner volunteer team in 2018 and spend one morning a week grooming the miniature horse, Badger. Amy does such a fantastic job that she was featured during Victory’s annual fundraiser dinner last fall!

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have so many friends who have Down syndrome and to be included so readily in this community. The love is palpable and the hugs are top-notch.

More importantly, however, is the opportunity to see first-hand how capable people with Down syndrome are. The rise of inclusion and a better understanding of their ability has enabled people with Down syndrome to become increasingly independent and visible in our communities.

Ruby’s Rainbow is remarkable in that it not only provides people with Down syndrome college scholarships, but also promotes the fact that those individuals are both worthy of and capable of attaining a higher education. I am thrilled to be part of a movement that encourages people to DREAM BIG.

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Scroll up to view Steen’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Sherry’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

After nearly 45 years as an educator in K–12 and college, I retired shortly after my first grandchild was born. Not only were my husband John and I delighted to finally become grandparents, we were thrilled that our little guy Wes was born with that extra special chromosome. Not knowing much about Down syndrome, we immediately set about both educating ourselves and reaching out to the Down syndrome community through social media.

And that is how we found Ruby’s Rainbow. We have supported Ruby’s Rainbow for the past three years with monthly donations, but decided we wanted to do more this year. Wes is only three, but one day he will be college age. I can only hope he will be welcomed into an appropriate college program with the same enthusiasm as the current Ruby’s Rainbow recipients are. In the meantime, we will continue to support Wes as “Nana” and “GaGa.” That support includes raising as much awareness as we can to Down syndrome and the potential of college-age students rocking their extra chromosome!

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Scroll up to view Sherry’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Leigh’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

I’m Leigh, the lone lady of the Woods family. Married to Seth, mama to Charlie (“Chi Chi”) and Thomas (“T-Bo”). We received a prenatal diagnosis of Trisomy-21 with Thomas. We had the same experience I think many parents do, where the geneticist spent an hour explaining genes and overwhelming us with all the scary things that would likely be wrong with our baby. We were blessed, however, to have an OB that saw us right after that geneticist who said, “This baby will bless your life in so many ways.” It was exactly what my heart needed.

I’m thankful for our prenatal diagnosis because I was able to process it well ahead of meeting our sweet boy. I did plenty of crying, and the thing I was most sad about was the idea that anyone would love Thomas even a fraction less than our first son. In my heart I knew our family and friends couldn’t possibly love him less, but when so many people said “I’m sorry” as we shared our news, it subconsciously told me they were sorry about the kind of baby I was going to have, as though he weren’t something you’d choose.

Thomas turned one in January and we would choose him a million times. He is so loved and so perfectly ours, and we feel deeply blessed that he will know a world where there are so many opportunities for him. The part of me that is still hormonally imbalanced can’t imagine anything worse than my babies going off to college and living away from me, but I can’t stop myself from smiling every time I read a story about someone with Down syndrome receiving their scholarship and attending college. We are honored to have the chance to help make these opportunities possible for other families whose “T-Bo”s are growing up and ready for the next chapter in their life.

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Scroll up to view Leigh’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Nancy’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

My name is Nancy Schroeder and my husband Lucas and I are proud parents to Adele (5), Ian (3), and Xavier (5 months).

Shortly after Ian was born, we received his diagnosis of Down syndrome. I often describe that experience as a pendulum: We swung from feeling pretty smug about how wonderful our world was to another extreme — worrying about Ian’s health and needlessly worrying about our finances and Ian’s limited future. Fortunately, neither Lucas nor I ever questioned the immense love we had for Ian, and from that place of love and with a little bit of education and perspective, our pendulum quickly swung right back to where it had been. We love our life and the future is very bright. What’s more, we have a happy, hilarious, capable, adorable second child to add to our list of blessings.

My wish for people who are unfamiliar with Down syndrome is that they see Ian as a kid like any other: with challenges and potential alike, and with so much worth. He is much more similar to his siblings than he is different from them. And like our expectations for Ian’s siblings, our expectations for Ian are sky high. We expect him to value education and go to college.

I love what Ruby’s Rainbow is doing, not only in spreading awareness about Down syndrome and supporting young adults with Down syndrome, but in building a growing list of hardworking and capable role models whom Adele, Ian, and Xavier can look up to.

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Scroll up to view Nancy’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Megan’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Hi! I’m Megan Adams. I love eating ice cream, singing along to Dolly Parton, reading memoirs, and reciting Mr. Rogers quotes to those around me. I work in HR by day and party planning as the co-party girl at Modern Marys by weekend. Most importantly, I am fairy godmother to the little loves in my life!

I’m taking the 3/21 Pledge to set the example for my godchildren and other cousins & kiddos in my life that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to and that they should see the same in everyone they meet!

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Scroll up to view Megan’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Maria’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Maria Jordan MacKeigan is a mother of two precious girls sent from above and married to a supportive husband, the author and illustrator of a children’s book titled A Princess Wish, and a devout advocate for those living the beauty of Down syndrome.

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Scroll up to view Maria’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Kelly’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Hello! My name is Kelly McEnerney. I am from Verona, NJ. I have three boys, Liam (11), John (9) and Colin (5, who is rockin that extra chromosome). During the school year, our home is extremely busy with school and sports. We are always on the go. In the summer, we go down to the Jersey Shore for a few weeks and enjoy relaxing on the beach. It is our “happy place.” 

This is my first year being on the Pledge Committee with Ruby’s Rainbow. However, I have been fundraising for a few years. I am a teacher in Clifton, NJ, and every year I submit a letter to my school district to have a district-wide “Dress Down Day” for Down syndrome awareness. The money raised goes to Ruby’s Rainbow. I am happy to say it was approved again for this year. Over the past two years we’ve raised about $4,000!

I am so excited to be a part of Ruby’s Rainbow. This organization has opened my eyes to the fact that anything is possible! I know Colin has a bright future ahead of him thanks to all of you! I hope I can have the opportunity to meet all of you wonderful mothers.

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Scroll up to view Kelly’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Carly’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Our world got wonderfully turned upside down with the adoptions of the two cutest kids, who also happen to have Down syndrome. Carter and Niyah are both 5 years old and basically making our lives better in every way. We also recently welcomed our rainbow baby, Audie Joy, to our family.

We are obsessed with Ruby’s Rainbow and their mission to not just help with financial costs of postsecondary education but also how they spread the message about the capabilities and AWESOMENESS of individuals rockin’ extra chromosomes.

We are excited for the opportunity to raise enough money for a scholarship! LET’S DO THIS!

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Scroll up to view Carly’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Trista’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

I’m Trista. I am a wife and a mother to three beautiful little girls. Our youngest daughter, Bernadette, was born with an extra awesome chromosome and has been rocking at life for two years now. She has rocked my world in all the best of ways and I am excited to be on this journey as her mother.

My husband and I received her diagnosis prenatally after discovering she had a major heart defect. I was mostly shocked when we found out that often times these kinds of heart defects can be associated with Down syndrome. A couple of weeks later, her Down syndrome diagnosis was confirmed through a blood test.

It took me awhile to adjust to the news. Soon enough, I found myself browsing through social media finding other families who had this wonderful addition. I didn’t know many people with Down syndrome prior to Bernadette’s birth. It was so encouraging to connect with these other families and to get a glimpse into this amazing part of their lives.

I came across Ruby’s Rainbow shortly after Bernadette was born, while spending several weeks in the hospital during Bernadette’s heart surgeries. It brought tears of joy to my eyes the first time I watched a video from Ruby’s Rainbow as they delivered a scholarship to a sweet girl getting ready for college. It opened my eyes to all kinds of endless possibilities for Bernadette and taught me the importance of dreaming big. I believe she can do anything she sets out to accomplish and I will be there cheering her on every step of the way.

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Scroll up to view Trista’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Amy’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Bio and photo coming soon!

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Scroll up to view Amy’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Kecia’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Bio and photo coming soon!

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Scroll up to view Kecia’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Lyndsay’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Bio and photo coming soon!

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Scroll up to view Lyndsay’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Rachel’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Our journey began in July 2013 when our baby boy arrived six weeks early. The delivery room was quiet until the cries of what sounded like a little mouse filled the room. From the moment those almond eyes locked with mine, I knew there would be no greater love. Without a word, we told each other it was going to be okay because no matter what life would throw us, there would always be LOVE.

Miles Rae was officially named on the day we received his Down syndrome diagnosis. Little did we know, the “milestones” he would meet in his first year alone would enrich his name. We immediately called my cousin and his wife in Iowa to share the news. Almost 10 years earlier, their son, Tyler, had been born with Down syndrome, and the memory of getting the call about his diagnosis came flooding back into my mind.

Five years into this journey and our support system has grown from close family and friends to connections we’ve made through our local Down syndrome community, social media and getting involved with special needs activities. We stumbled upon Ruby’s Rainbow a few short weeks after Miles was born. I felt so connected to their mission that for Miles’s third birthday, in lieu of gifts, we raised enough money for a Ruby’s Rainbow scholarship, which we presented to the recipient in 2018.

Miles will be graduating from preschool this year. He’s a caring, playful, lovable big brother to our 20-month-old, Oliver. Miles loves superheroes, baking with his daddy, playing the guitar and reading. In the summertime he attends a full-day inclusive camp where he is learning to swim, and on weekends he enjoys Tae Kwon Do and soccer. Miles continuously teaches us about the meaning of life, love, determination and patience.

We are so grateful for Ruby and the vision that Liz had in creating Ruby’s Rainbow. Organizations like Ruby’s Rainbow are a beautiful reminder that our children are capable of more than the limitations set upon them by antiquated beliefs. It is through the support and love of the Down syndrome community that our children will be given the encouragement and wings they need to fly.

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Cassie’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Bio and photo coming soon!

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Scroll up to view Cassie’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Stephanie’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Bio and photo coming soon!

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Scroll up to view Stephanie’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Lexi’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Bio and photo coming soon!

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Scroll up to view Lexi’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Caroline’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Hello there! My name is Caroline Dixon and I was born and raised in Louisiana by two parents who believed in the power of helping others. My Dad always taught my brother and me to look out for the people who needed it most, and both my parents set an incredible example by giving their time and money to those less fortunate than we were. I have always held a place in my heart for those with special needs and have had the pleasure of working with some of these amazing humans during my time as a nurse.

I truly believe these scholarship recipients have so much to offer the world, and I want to see them meet their full potential by going to college. Ruby’s Rainbow really ignited and inspired me to want to give back!

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Scroll up to view Caroline’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Natalie’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Bio and photo coming soon!

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Scroll up to view Natalie’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Emma’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

Hi! I’m Emma and I’m a 28-year-old from Canada. I don’t have any direct family link to anyone with Down syndrome (DS), but the first child I worked with when I was just nine years old was a wonderful little kindergarten boy with DS, and that experience forever changed my life. Since that day I have continued to work with kids with special needs and it is the best thing ever. I have done co-op programs and also worked in schools and camps that involve kids with special needs. The biggest thing I have learned is there isn’t anything they can’t do if they put their minds to it.
I believe in inclusion and not putting people in a box or assuming limits. We live in such a wonderful world, and sometimes we forget to take even the smallest accomplishments as positives. We are always looking for that big moment. I joined Ruby’s Rainbow’s 3/21 Pledge Committee not only to be an advocate for those with Down syndrome, but to show that small acts of kindness can lead to many positive things. Doesn’t matter your age, abilities and so on – we all have the ability to love and look out for one another. So join me in taking this Pledge so we can send well-deserving people to post-secondary school and let them show us and the world all that they can do!

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Scroll up to view Emma’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Erin’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

We are the Mullen Family. We have two little girls, Amelia (4) and CC (2). CC is a bright, happy little tornado who just happens to have Down syndrome. We love to spend time with our family and are lucky to have a lot of them around us! We also love to travel, dance, read books, and eat! What makes us happiest, though, is watching our girls together. Since CC was born, Amelia has called her “my CC,” and CC adores Amelia. She follows her big sister around, shouting her name and learning from her like a sponge!

I never knew anyone with Down syndrome before my daughter, so my feelings when we were given a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome were confusing. There was never any question of whether we would have our little girl or love her, and we decided right away that we were never going to put limits on what she could do — but even then, it was hard to always stay positive. Our OB-GYN at the time told us we should terminate her, and he gave us so much misinformation it was embarrassing (for him). So much of what we read was about what she wouldn’t be able to do, how different she was going to be. They were all so wrong, as you usually are when you have low expectations for ANYONE.

What we have discovered is that having CC in our family is no different from having any other child. Like with any child, we LOVE every minute of watching CC reach her potential. And wow, has she done that — whether it’s thriving after heart surgery at 5 months old, walking at 19 months, saying “Mama” for the first time or conquering the slide! Her determination is something to be admired. She is someone to admire.

CC has opened up a whole new world for us as well as for our truly amazing friends and family. Besides giving everyone who knows us a reason to think about inclusion and acceptance, CC has given us an opportunity to advocate on behalf of her and others. For the last year and a half, I have represented the Global Down Syndrome Foundation in Washington, DC. Together with Global, the Down syndrome community, and amazing champions in Congress, we were able to lead an effort to secure a historic 65% increase of Down syndrome research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This significant increase is important for so many reasons, but very largely because making Down syndrome research a priority and ensuring access to quality healthcare helps individuals with Down syndrome reach their true potential.

Ruby’s Rainbow also does that, and so much more. It provides hope for families and individuals, and it changes perceptions. For any child, the idea that someone believes they can one day go to college is a powerful message that encourages determination and confidence. We want this to be an opportunity for CC and any other individual with Down syndrome, if they want it. We can’t wait to help Ruby’s Rainbow this year!

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Scroll up to view Erin’s bio and Pledge Page link!

Meghan’s 3/21 Pledge Page (link coming soon!)

The Sullivans are so thrilled to be a part of the pledge committee for Ruby’s Rainbow. Our daughter, Miss Faye Delaney Sullivan, was born four years ago, and to say we are so very blessed to have her in our lives would be the ultimate understatement. Faye has opened our eyes in so many ways and has given us the strength to encourage other families to stay positive, embrace their child’s glow, and recognize that there are endless possibilities for our children. In just four short years, we have witnessed the perseverance and determination of our little girl to overcome all the obstacles in front of her, which have included a feeding tube, open heart surgery, and other developmental challenges. In the beginning it can be overwhelming at times, and worrying about her future was at the top of our list. Will she be able to communicate? Will she make friends? Will she be able to go to college, get a job and live on her own? These are all concerns that any parent can relate to. With the help of social media, we stumbled upon an organization that helps to alleviate these concerns and gives hope that there is a future for our daughter and her peers. Ruby’s Rainbow allows adults with Down Syndrome a chance to be a part of something that in the past was not even an option. This organization is changing their paths and in turn giving hope and security to new parents. We hope you will join us in supporting others like Faye in realizing their dreams!

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Scroll up to view Meghan’s bio and Pledge page link!

Rachel Drake

Rachel Drake for Sully Drake Family & Friends Scholarship

You never forget the day you give birth to your child. I remember general details about having my son (he’s a handsome, hilarious 46’er) but I think I could tell you about every second of the day after having my daughter, Sully. Sully surprised us ALL at birth with Down syndrome.

It’s been quite a journey. An incredible journey. I had Sully at our local rural hospital and when she came out there was no denying our sweet girl had an extra chromosome. Sully had some difficulty breathing and she was quickly transferred to a higher level of care at Texas Children’s Hospital where we spent the next 102 days fighting for her life. We jokingly refer to our time at TCH as our vacation. Not your fun relaxing kind of vacation but more like the kind where someone drops you off in the wilderness and says you’ll figure it out, good luck.

We did figure it out. Took a few weeks but we soon became hospital experts and quickly felt like we had actually been to medical school. You needed directions? We were you’re people. Not sure where to eat? We got you. Where’s the cleanest one-holer bathroom? Floor 4 down the hall from the NICU check in desk. It was a vacation that provided a lifetime of memories, good and bad. If you’ve spent any amount of time in a hospital you know there is an insane amount of time for your thoughts to consume your soul.

We didn’t know the first thing about Down syndrome and while my husband has coached Special Olympics for 15 years we didn’t know know things about DS, I’d say we knew of it. So while Sully’s tiny body was hooked to monitors and IV’s in her isolette I googled Down syndrome on my phone and read everything I could get my hands on. Some articles would just suck the life out of me and I would be overcome with grief at what articles would say life would be like for Sully.

But I kept googling and one day I stumbled across Ruby’s Rainbow. While cheesy to say, it was like the clouds parted and a ray of sunshine was shining directly on me and Sully in that dark quiet NICU. I still remember that day and telling my husband what I had found. To find a mom who was helping adults with Down syndrome go to college, COLLEGE, was the most hope I had had since Sully was born. While Liz doesn’t know she had such an impact on me I am forever grateful to her for showing me my daughter was worthy of everything.

EVERY. THING.

So it was a no brainer that we wanted to help Ruby’s Rainbow. We are not wealthy people but our tribe is strong and with them we have been able to raise funds and provide scholarships to three beautiful, intelligent women with Down syndrome. We hope to keep it going for many many years!

3/21 Pledge Page

Since 2016, Warriors For Walt has partnered with Ruby’s Rainbow for the 321 Pledge. Our Walt’s Warriors keep on ROCKIN’ IT on fundraising, and we have raised over $11,000 for Ruby’s Rainbow’s Warriors For Walt Scholarship Recipients!

Warriors For Walt honors our son, Walt the Warrior, who passed away at the young age of 9months. Our mission is to provide financial support to nonprofits creating awareness, inclusion and opportunity for individuals with special needs and give hope to families suffering the loss of their child. We hope you find Warriors for Walt as a gathering place for information, for support, for inspiration to help make the world a better place for ALL people of ALL abilities.

Kimberley Wiedenfeld

3/21 Pledge Page

The summer before Kate turned two, I posted a picture of our family on the beach in California with the caption “Eighteen months ago, I don’t think I imagined that our life would be this much fun. So thankful I was wrong.” I remember sitting on the beach, watching my daughter walk hand-in-hand with my husband down the sand, and her brother, not quite 4, building castles and smashing them and running into the water and squealing. I was amazed that I was sitting on the beach, doing exactly what I had hoped for and dreamed of before having children. And I was surprised by joy.

As it goes in southern California, it was a very hot day in September, in 2012, when our daughter came rushing into the world. She nearly sprinted out, leaving no time for the nurse, let alone a doctor to even catch her. What was surprising was that as quickly as she showed up, she was whisked away by a team of nurses and doctors, talking in hushed tones. Eventually, as a reply to my repeated, “Is she ok? Is everything ok? What’s wrong?”, a neonatologist with a gentle voice and kind eyes came to my bedside. He spoke softly as he communicated that there were concerns about my daughter’s heart and lungs, and then he said, “Have you heard of Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome?” As he talked through the reasons why he suspected Kate might have the extra copy of the 21st chromosome, things kind of became blurry and I listened as if an observer from outside or above the room—not as a participant.

Kate would be rushed off to a higher level hospital with my husband by ambulance, and I would follow a few hours later. For six weeks in that NICU, my husband and I would sit bedside with Kate—we would rock, and sing, and pray, and cry, and read, and write, and wonder when we might get to take her home to meet her not-yet-two-year-old brother. We would learn her lungs were just fine, but she had two holes in her heart. And I remember sitting there, wondering if our life would be fun, or if it would be a serious, sort of sad, and pretty tough new life. The hope for Joshua having a kindred playmate so close in age seemed dashed. And my ideas of what a happy little family of four would do seemed tossed to the waves. I didn’t think life was over—but I did think it would never be the same, nor would it be what I had dreamed of.

Well, she’s only five, but I can say that I was right about that last part—our life would never be the same, nor what I had dreamed of. But that day on the beach, and the realization that our life was full of joy was the beginning of seeing that our world had expanded a hundredfold because God gave us Kate. Our life is much more like most of our friends—we go to the beach, we take family vacations, we have siblings who fight and make-up and then go back to arguing. Sure, there are more obstacles and processes and paperwork and specialists. But because of Kate, God gave us new eyes to see beyond the artificial limits we placed on our life and how it needed to be lived. We have taken more risks and tried new things and lived season by season and made friends we would have never known– gosh, has God used Kate to open up the world to us.

She’s a persistent and determined little girl, every bit as sassy as she is cute. She loves to bake. She belts out songs at the top of her lungs—off key, but full-hearted, nonetheless. And depending on her mood, she might give you the cold shoulder, or, she might greet you with the most enthusiastic welcome you’ve ever encountered. She’s in kindergarten with typical peers and loving it. Her speech is exploding right along with her attitude. She knows enough sight words to read some basic books and astounds me with her empathy for others. Because of Ruby’s Rainbow, and the way Liz has chosen to pursue her dreams for individuals with Down syndrome, we have dreams of college for Kate–and perhaps her own bakery! In fact, two years ago, we moved our family across the country so that I could work at Roberts Wesleyan College, an institution of higher ed that also values education for all abilities. At Roberts, both Kate and Joshua can dream about becoming future Redhawks one day!

Our deepest desire for Kate is that she will know how much she is loved–created in the image of God, and made to live in community. To be a friend and to be loved by friends. I don’t know what Kate’s future holds, but if these first 5 years are any indication, this will be an adventure I wouldn’t want to miss.

Heather Bird

3/21 Pledge Page

I am a runner, photographer, product manager, mother to four beautiful, unique boys and wife to an amazing man. Our life is busy and loud and hectic and filled with so much JOY. I manage my life on little sleep but lots of love.

When our youngest, Zeke, was born we were surprised to find out he had Down syndrome. After the overload of information on potential medical issues and limitations he would face, none of which offered any comfort to the initial shock of this diagnosis, Ruby’s Rainbow was a welcomed breath of fresh air.

Story after story of Ruby’s Rainbow recipients brought joy and hope. Almost immediately our focus changed to all of the things that our amazing Zeke COULD and WOULD do. As I tell people of Ruby’s Rainbow, I continue to watch person after person being absolutely wowed by what the recipients are accomplishing. We are honored to share these stories and support Ruby’s Rainbow as they continue to WOW the world by helping change the perception of what it means to have Down syndrome.

Elizabeth Noel

3/21 Pledge Page

I am Elizabeth Noel. I am married to my husband, Bryan, and he’s awesome! We have two sons, Dex and Gus, who both rock extra chromosomes. They came to our family through domestic adoption.

I am so thankful that I get to be their momma and they have introduced me to the amazing Down syndrome community. I am an adoption consultant, a blogger, and a stay at home momma. There is never a dull moment around here, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Emily Lovrin Baxter

3/21 Pledge Page

Our Lovrin is the youngest of four, and she has blessed our family in ways that she will never know. She is now two years old and starting to get her own little personality, fitting right in with this wild crew!

When she was first born, I needed to do something for her, for me, for us as a family. Some friends reached out asking how they could help support us, which ultimately led us to wanting to raise money for Ruby’s Rainbow. It gave me hope in a time that I was really unsure about a lot. We raised over $3,000 through our family and friends and a generous donation from our favorite Bar-B-Que cart.

I am hopeful and inspired. Every year seems to get bigger in terms of my passion for spreading awareness for the value and capabilities people with Down syndrome have in our world.

Amy Knueppel

3/21 Pledge Page

Amy is the mother to three kids, all of them special in their own way! Her middle child, Wesley, was diagnosed with Down syndrome four days after he was born. This started her on a path of advocacy for people with disabilities and Special Needs. Little did she know that advocacy would come in handy when her oldest, Vivian, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 4.

Amy and her husband adopted their youngest, Louis, from China. He had a medical issue that was corrected in China, but has additional needs that have come to light since coming home. Amy is a former Texan (Sic ‘Em Bears!) who became aware of Ruby’s Rainbow through friends after Wesley’s birth. After hearing adults with Down syndrome speak about their continuing education, which was made possible in part by a RR scholarship, Amy decided to take on a bigger role in the 321 Pledge campaign.

Amy is also currently in talks with two different universities about starting programs on their campus to provide adults with Intellectual Disabilities the opportunity to receive a post-secondary education.

Caroline Givnish

3/21 Pledge Page

We received Lucy’s diagnosis prenatally at 14 weeks via CVS testing. At 30 years old and being our first pregnancy, it was all very unexpected (although, now of course I know that most pregnancies with a diagnosis of Down syndrome occur before age 35!).

Quite honestly, I was thrown into a state of grief that unfortunately clouded a good part of my pregnancy, but I was also glad that I was prepared for any necessary post-natal medical care (so far, none!) and other intervention services. When I was 8 months pregnant with Lucy, I stumbled upon Ruby’s Rainbow: I was reading Kelle Hampton’s “Enjoying the Small Things” blog where she featured a story about the 3/21 Pledge. I had never heard of post-secondary education programs for people with Intellectual Disabilities and it filled my heart with so much optimism for Lucy’s future.

Ruby’s Rainbow’s made me realize that I didn’t have to give up on any of my dreams for Lucy just because she is rockin’ an extra chromosome. Knowing that there’s an organization like Ruby’s Rainbow who believes so deeply in giving Lucy’s peers the tools they deserve to realize their full potential – it means everything! Fast forward 2 years… we have the most incredible, beautiful, smart, funny daughter who has brought so much joy into our lives (and everyone who is lucky enough to know her). I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our Lucy, I know she will move mountains.

Lindsey Kloeckner

3/21 Pledge Page

Lindsey is married to Rich, and together they are raising two beautiful daughters that are the lights of their lives. Grace, age 5, is one of the funniest little girls you’ll ever meet. Natalie, age 2, is a silly little love bug. Natalie also happens to be rocking an extra chromosome. The day Natalie was born, Lindsey told her husband that she was going to go to college like her big sister, but wasn’t sure if it was a possibility.

Shortly after, Lindsey learned of Ruby’s Rainbow and became an instant supporter of the organization. Each time she read a story about a Rockin’ Recipient, she became more hopeful about her daughter’s future. Lindsey joined the pledge committee in 2016.

When she’s not working, or chasing after her littles, she enjoys writing about her journey on her blog. Lindsey also enjoys taking solo trips to Target to comb through the dollar spot.

You can follow her at thingsimlearningnow.wordpress.com.

3/21 Pledge Page

I am the proud mom of Mary (3) who is rockin’ that extra chromosome, and Bre Bre (stepmom) to Gianna (8). Along with my husband Marc, they are my world.

I have been fortunate to be a part of the Ruby’s Rainbow fundraising committee and spreading the word of this incredible organization for the 2nd year in a row. By Ruby’s Rainbow giving young men and women with Down syndrome an opportunity to pursue higher education this allows them to learn valuable life skills, and grow their abilities. Inclusion and embracing our kids abilities is very important to me and Ruby’s Rainbow is at the forefront of this movement.

Like Liz, Ruby’s mom, higher education is a dream that I have for my daughter. I’m proud to be a part of Ruby’s Rainbow to help make the dreams of higher education for others with Down syndrome and one day my own daughter come true.

Stephanie Seguin

3/21 Pledge Page

I am a wife, mom to two little girls, and an educator living in Canada across the border from Detroit.

When our daughter Hazel was born in 2012, I was inspired to do my part to advocate for those with Down syndrome within my community, eventually starting a foundation in Hazel’s name where I promote local programs, assist families in need, and raise awareness about the true capabilities of those with DS. I am thrilled to support Ruby’s Rainbow, because as a teacher, I believe education fills our life with choice, independence, and opportunity. As a mother, Ruby’s Rainbow shares a powerful message of hope to all the brand new families out there, that people with Down syndrome are worthy and capable of the same future as every other child.

Erin Morrow

3/21 Pledge Page

I am a 37 year old full time working Mom of three gorgeous girls (Jaya 8, Mila 4, and Kora 3). While growing up in Ames, Iowa I attended school in Gilbert, Iowa. I then attended college at a few different schools in both Iowa and Ilinois. I took the plunge into marraige at a young age and have been married to my husband Ben for 15 years. My husband’s career eventually landed us in Chicago where I got my hankering for high heels and a good martini. After 4 years in the City, we decided to make the trip back to Iowa and made our home Ankeny, where we started our family.

When I’m not working, or trying to start home improvement projects that are way out of the scope of my expertise, or running kids around and trying to keep them fed, I am tying my hair back and taking in a game. My love of sports and excercise, and trials as mom of the year (ha, ha) keep me on my toes.

The birth of our second daughter, Mila, gave us a diagnosis we were not expecting — Down syndrome. I am a novice. Mila is only 4; there is an abundant of knowledge for me to learn during this journey she has taken us on. I am involved with Ruby’s Rainbow because I want to bring awareness to a subject I had no knowledge on the day Mila was born. The fact I had no knowledge significantly contributed to the fear and ignorance I possessed. If there is anything I can do to help others become more educated as well, I am on board. Ruby’s Rainbow has inspired our family to help others realize this organization is helping to change the future for people with Down syndrome. That it helps inspire people with Down syndrome to go to college and to fulfill their dreams; just like anyone else who inspires to.

Dovon Sedam

3/21 Pledge Page

Hi, we are the Sedam Family. I am Dovon and have been married to my wonderful husband, Jared for 10 years. We have two awesome boys, our oldest is Henry age 6 and our youngest Miles age 3. We live in Providence, Ri. I am a full time mom part time Hairstylist and my husband is an Architect. Our son Miles came into this world with some eXtra surprises we were not aware of prior to his birth. He was born with two holes in his heart and the probable diagnosis of Down syndrome…and so a new journey began. Long story short….he would need heart surgery at six months old. We have learned so much along the the way. There are always going to be things to learn, but the things that remain a constant that we have tried to instill in our boys is love, kindness and the value and worth of all people.

Inclusion, possibilities, dreams are all words that come to mind for my children’s futures. We are so excited to join Ruby’s Rainbow and raise awareness and support for these young adults pursuing inclusion, discovering possibilities, and making their dreams attainable!

With much gratitude,
The Sedams

Emily Korzon

3/21 Pledge Page

Heya! My name is Emily Korzon and this is my second year as a pledge committee member. I live in the coolest small town in America, Lititz, Pennsylvania with my husband, Andy, and our two children. Isla (eye-la), our oldest, just turned two in January and Jack was born in December. Life is very crazy right now with a two year old and a two month old, but it’s a perfect sort of crazy.

I got involved with Ruby’s Rainbow in 2016 after the birth of our daughter Isla, who is rocking’ an extra chromosome. When we got Isla’s diagnosis I was 20 weeks pregnant and terrified. Becoming a mother was scary enough, but finding out my child would have a disability totally overwhelmed me. I wondered if she would ever learn to drive, go to college, or get married. I was afraid she may not have the experiences I pictured for her.

When I found Ruby’s Rainbow it was like looking into a crystal ball and realizing everything would be okay. Actually, everything would be more than okay- it would be freakin’ awesome! I read bios and saw videos of the receipts and felt an overwhelming sense of peace. These recipients were articulate, funny, and smart! They were pursuing their interests without letting something as small as an extra chromosome get in their way. I suddenly knew Isla would be just fine.

Ruby’s Rainbow opened my eyes to what Isla’s future may look like- and it’s so much better than I ever could have imagined. Not only have I been a part of raising funds for some extraordinary individuals, but Ruby’s Rainbow has also connected me to other mamas across the country. This organization has truly changed my life!

Megan Chaffee

3/21 Pledge Page

My name is Megan. My husband and I have adopted a little Ethiopian Princess (4.5 years ago) and a China Babe (8 months ago.) Our sweet girl who rocks the extra chromosome just turned 4. She is hands down amazing, and is breaking barriers beyond our imagination.

We love to explore, play lots of Disney princesses, scare each other, and the dance parties over here are pretty stellar! We laugh a lot, and sometimes the curiosity levels in our house our nothing I would have expected. The water is always a favorite, along with a sweet treat. We spend a lot of time at Speech, working on hearing our little ones words, but don’t worry she has no problem telling us what she wants!

Our Violet recently started preschool, and she will be moving right along. As a family, we are so excited to be spreading the word about how important these funds are for the students receiving them. The thought of these scholarships being available for our girl, makes me want to reach for the sky and advocate like crazy. So, join me won’t you?! It’s easy and so super fun!

Adrienne Crawford

3/21 Pledge Page

I am Adrienne Crawford and I live in beautiful Tucson, Arizona. My husband, David, is a dual board certified physician in Internal medicine and Pediatrics and works at a local non profit that serves families in southern Arizona- the majority of them having complex medical needs. We have three children. Bentley is 9 years old and loves to play basketball, Mario Kart, ride the tandem bike, hike, swim, laugh, and play with playmobile. He attends our local elementary school where they utilize inclusive practices for more than 90% of his day. Clayton is 8 years old and also loves Mario Kart, soccer, reading books, swimming, and board games. He’s also a talented guitar player. Lily is 6 and loves people! She enjoys board games, making mud pies- and really making messes of all kinds!

We are a family that enjoys traveling and being together. I work for a local agency in Tucson called Pilot Parents. We facilitate a national program called Partners in Policymaking that aims to help parents and self advocates dream of possibilities. The curriculum includes things from the history of the disability movement to, IEP and education, employment, living, person centered plans, and state and federal legislation. We also do facilitate other programs to help parents and caregivers learn a variety of tools they can utilize to advocate for their loved ones.

My mother is a career advisor at Lewis and Clark College- and I grew up never questioning IF I would go to college, but simply WHICH college I’d attend. When Bentley was born I didn’t imagine college was an option. Now I know that there are many opportunities for people with Down syndrome to go to college. I know from my own college experience that it isn’t just gaining knowledge for a particular career, but it’s also a rite of passage- it’s the place where we learn the importance of doing our own laundry, managing a scheduling, finding and keeping friends, as well as, learn all sorts of other skills! I want this experience for ALL my children!

I am so excited to be teaming up with Ruby’s Rainbow to help fundraise for the next 2 weeks as we seek to help individuals with Down syndrome GO TO COLLEGE!

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting… so get on your way!” Dr. Seuss

3/21 Pledge Page

Wife to Ty, mom to Charlie and Ansleigh. Owner of A Lil Something Extra.

I’m excited to be part of the pledge committee because Ruby’s Rainbow is changing lives and people’s perspectives of individuals with Down syndrome. What an amazing and beautiful thing Liz and her team have been able to accomplish.

Maura Dunn

3/21 Pledge Page

Maura and her husband, Matt, live in New York with their four children, Sydney, Rowan, Jack and Grace, and Bob the dog. Their youngest, Grace, was born in October of 2014 and arrived with an extra 21st chromosome.

Maura is a teacher currently at home, or more often in the car, with her own children. Maura enjoys planning renovations on the family’s 250-year-old home on Long Island and spending time at the beach with her family. As an educator, and a mother, she is an advocate of inclusion.

Maura is thrilled to be a part of this year’s Pledge Committee. Maura and Matt often think how different the experience of Grace’s birth would have been if, instead of an apology, they were handed a brochure for Ruby’s Rainbow. They believe the message of hope and possibility spread through the work of Ruby’s Rainbow can change perception and create opportunity for their little girl and so many others.

Nicole Wallace

3/21 Pledge Page

Hi! I’m Nicole & I’m Mom to four awesome girls, two of which have Down syndrome. Reese, our biological daughter with Ds, is six & inspired us to adopt another little girl with Ds from China. Hazel is seven & has been a beloved member of our family for two years now. Both Reese & Hazel (affectionately referred to as Reezel) are rocking kindergarten, take dance & gymnastics, and are active supporters of Netflix & YouTube.

When I’m not momming, I work as an ICU nurse & cram as many foster animals into our house as possible. Our family is blessed to support Ruby’s Rainbow & love seeing these young adults pursue their dreams!

Kale Cleaver

3/21 Pledge Page

Hi! My name is Kale Cleaver and I love eating cheeseburgers and french fries!

I’m 13 and I go to school at Calvary Chapel Academy. I take karate class twice per week and I am a yellow-belt. I also like to play with my Woody doll, I love Harry Potter movies and I play the piano. My brother is my best friend and my girlfriend’s name is Emma. I love her.

Thank you for donating to the Ruby’s Rainbow scholarship fund. I want to go to college one day on my own but I will miss my family. Because you are giving to Ruby’s Rainbow, you are making a difference to someone like me.

Jamie Bradford

3/21 Pledge Page

I’m Jamie, and our middle child, Gracie, was born with that amazing extra chromosome. She’s our sunshine and wild toddler tornado all wrapped into one! She is sandwiched between her older brother, Gage (7), and her younger sister, Raegan (6 months).

I had a prenatal diagnosis at 15 weeks and I was wrecked for a few weeks. How could this be happening? I don’t know anything about Down syndrome! What is our life going to look like? But as I met more people, I began to realize it wasn’t so scary. And when they put Gracie in my arms after she was born? She was simply our perfectly created Gracie to me, no longer a scary diagnosis.

Because of my journey with a prenatal diagnosis, I am passionate with sharing with other families who get a prenatal diagnosis how normal our lives really are and how grateful I am for how God created Gracie. I own a little shop with a mama friend called “More Alike Than Different” because we want be a voice for our kids and those like them and change how the world views disabilities.

Gracie going to college is real possibility these days, and the work that Ruby’s Rainbow is doing inspires me to my core. I want to be a part of helping others who rock that extra chromosome be able to dream big.

Bio coming soon.

Bio coming soon.

Bio coming soon.

3/21 Pledge Page

Jamie Freeman  is a Michigan Mama with a strong need to change the way the world feels, thinks, and reacts to Down syndrome.  When Benny, her son, was born in 2013 with that amazing extra chromosome, she felt the need to help new parents understand that receiving a Down syndrome diagnosis is the greatest blessing you never knew you wanted.  She began writing in a journal all the things she wanted to be able to say to herself back on the day Benny was diagnosed, then sent it along to a friend who also had a child with Down syndrome.  This kept going and The Down Syndrome Diary was born.  Today, there are fourteen diaries circulating twenty-one different countries visiting families who love someone with Down syndrome.  Each family writes their story and passes it along to the next so that one day soon we can publish our words to hand to parents just hearing the words “Down syndrome” for the first time.
Ruby’s Rainbow is near and dear to Jamie’s heart as well for so many reasons, number one of which is seeing the hope and joy these scholarships bring to all the individuals and families they touch.
My name is Shelley Bernis and I am a Speech-Language Pathologist. I have always had a special place in my heart for individuals with Down Syndrome because my mom was a special education teacher and I had the privilege to see firsthand at an early age just how awesome people rockin’ that extra chromosome are. It is why I went to school to become an SLP! I have been working as an SLP for over 10 years and have loved every second of it. I was super excited when I got to work with Ruby a few years back because she is just the coolest, not to mention her family is pretty awesome too!
I am married to Warren and we have two boys, Wesley (5) and Jace (2). Our son Jace suffers from extreme food and environmental allergies, so I had to step back from working to focus on his care when he was one. After Jace’s allergies started to plateau, I slowly began working again, but I also started to develop some health issues and was diagnosed with a form of dysautonomia called POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), which left me unable to stand/walk for long periods and could no longer drive. I am a true believer in focusing on ones abilities, not disabilities so I didn’t let this diagnosis deter me from what I love to do. That’s when I came up with the idea of delivering speech services via an online therapy platform also known as telepractice.
Empower TeleSpeech Therapy was born in September 2018 with the idea of empowering young adults with Down Syndrome not only to FIND their voice but also to USE their voice to exercise their right to freedom of expression, a right granted to us ALL. My promise is to give my clients the tools and confidence they need to communicate effectively in pursuit of their dreams! Ruby’s Rainbow is helping individuals with Down Syndrome go for their dreams of higher education and independence and I couldn’t be any more proud to be a part of that!

Steen Krause (center, in glasses and green shirt)

Hi! My name is Steen Krause. I am a nanny and respite care provider who enjoys reading, running, and judo. But my truest love is working with individuals with disabilities.

In 2006, I volunteered for the first time at Camp Big Heart in Winder, Georgia. CBH is a respite camp for individuals of all ages who have developmental disabilities. I signed up for a week, stayed for two, and never looked back. Six summers at camp changed the trajectory of my life and made me who I am today.

After moving to Texas, I became a certified Special Olympics coach with a local team in 2015. I help out with most of the sports we offer, meaning I get to see my athletes year-round!

In 2016, I also began volunteering at Victory Therapy Center, a therapeutic riding center that provides equine therapy services. One of my athletes, Amy, expressed interest in volunteering at the barn, so we became a partner volunteer team in 2018 and spend one morning a week grooming the miniature horse, Badger. Amy does such a fantastic job that she was featured during Victory’s annual fundraiser dinner last fall!

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have so many friends who have Down syndrome and to be included so readily in this community. The love is palpable and the hugs are top-notch.

More importantly, however, is the opportunity to see firsthand how capable people with Down syndrome are. The rise of inclusion and a better understanding of their ability has enabled people with Down syndrome to become increasingly independent and visible in our communities.

Ruby’s Rainbow is remarkable in that it not only provides people with Down syndrome college scholarships, but also promotes the fact that those individuals are both worthy of and capable of attaining a higher education. I am thrilled to be part of a movement that encourages people to DREAM BIG.