The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
8 E 41st Street, 8th Floor
New York New York 10017
[email protected] 

Finding the Treasure
Finding the Treasure

My name is Kelli Webber, and I work in the Office of Orientation at Louisiana State University. I am also the proud advisor of the LSU Ambassadors, a student organization on campus whose mission is to recruit, orient and advise incoming students. All of my students were able to share my pregnancy with me, and I knew that my son would always have a special place in their hearts. However, I could have never have imagined the special gift they would give our family. While I was on maternity leave, my students made a video for me to watch. As the video played, I was greeted by several of my students sending us well wishes, saying how much they missed me, and talking about how excited they were to meet Parish. Each message touched my heart immensely. I was flabbergasted at the amount of time they had spent on this video - time away from so many other commitments they had, time they made for our family and our new son. At the end of each clip, each Ambassador said, We are finding the treasure in each Parish. I thought that was such a sweet play on his name, and I giggled at their creativity. However, at the end of the video, an even more special gift was revealed. All the while, I simply assumed that, We are finding the treasure in each Parish was a cute tag line they created for the video, but I could have never imagined the deeper, more meaningful significance of those words. At the end of the video, it was explained that each of my students had reached out to their friends and families all over the state of Louisiana to raise funds for the National Down Syndrome Society in Parish's name. Hence finding "treasure" in each parish. They even created a T-shirt to sell in order to raise even more funds in Parish's name. Their plan was to wear those shirts as they participated in the National Down Syndrome Society's Buddy Walk® in Baton Rouge. As I listened to them explain what their plans were, tears welled up in my eyes and streamed down my face. My heart became so full that I thought it would explode in my chest. I could not believe that these students had taken the time and gone to such great lengths to do something like this for my family, for my Parish. Even now as I type this I am overwhelmed and humbled by their gesture. There are no words to express the gratitude that is in my heart. You see, we were unaware of Parish's diagnosis until he was born. Parish was born with cataracts, thyroid issues and liver troubles. Truth be told, we had not had much time to even digest that he also had Down syndrome. But in one fell swoop, my LSU Ambassadors introduced us to an amazing community of support in our town. They gave a gift to our family that we will not soon forget.

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