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Valerie Mazzu
Valerie at graduation. She is well on her way to achieving great things for a great cause!
Valerie at graduation. She is well on her way to achieving great things for a great cause!
Valerie Mazzu

Valerie Mazzu was just born when her parents, family members and doctors learned that she had been diagnosed with Down syndrome. In Valerie's case she has Mosaic Down syndrome, found only in 2-4% of children diagnosed. Fifteen months into raising Valerie, mother Lisa Mazzu noticed a rash of red spots on Valerie's body. After hours of researching possibilities, the most obvious one was Leukemia. Sure enough, after an order of blood work, Lisa Mazzu came to the realization that Valerie now had to be treated with Chemotherapy to fight the disease. After her first treatment Valerie had been cleared of cancer, but doctors insisted on continuing treatment for three more rounds to prevent the possibility of a relapse. Once cleared of Leukemia, Valerie began to attend a program at "Volunteers of America" and frequently visited Dr. Judith Gardner, an early intervention specialist at The Institute of Basic Research. Upon meeting with the specialist, Lisa Mazzu questioned if her approach to handling the syndrome was too farfetched. She had asked Dr. Gardner "How much is too much? Is it bad that I want to bombard her with intervention programs?" and the response she received that she will always keep with her until this day is "It is never enough." From that point forward Valerie has continued to attend programs that provide her with the ability to overcome any hindrance the syndrome might bring, although there is not much that can stop her. As her mother stated "When my husband and I were driving her to her first day of kindergarten at P.S 60, we were amazed to see not an ounce of fear on her face; she was just fearless." Along with her eagerness to attend school, Valerie hopes to one day become a doctor, as she is always naming medical terms and defining them too! If you ask her what the heart does, she will tell you it pumps blood; if you ask her what the brain does she will tell you it thinks. As the proud mother of two stated "Although her articulation isn't perfect, when you start to understand what she is saying, she really has a typical mind. Society seems to think when a child has those abnormal facial looks, suddenly they aren't able to function in society." Despite any obstacle Valerie has faced, she continues to exceed any expectation her peers have of her, and together, with the help of her parents, will one day do great things for a great cause. To Lisa, Down syndrome has become a blessing in disguise as she has never felt closer to her daughter. She depicted just how lucky she is to have Valerie in her life when she states "I like being a part of her world. I'm glad she is the way she is. I have never met someone so loving."

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Brenda Snydeer, United States, UT
6/10/2014 3:17:31 PM
What an AWESOME story. I just love that Lisa shares so much of Valerie's life with us. Valerie gives new meaning to the word miracle and success. You go girl!!!!!!

Vincenzo Esposito, United States, NV
6/10/2014 2:52:45 PM
Valerie is a true super women. We have to thank God, her mother and father, her brother the team of medical personnel and many others that help her become a super hero.

Dorothy Esposito, United States, NV
6/10/2014 3:30:05 AM
I have been fortunate to be able to see Valerie from the beginning !!!!!! When the Leukemia was diagnosed, I saw her accepting so much more than a child that age should have to endure . She was a fighter !!!!!! Bless all the children that have big hurdles to overcome . Valerie is incredible !!!!!

Mary Ellen Probanski, United States, NY
6/9/2014 10:10:45 PM
I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Valerie in a summer school program a couple of summers ago. She is a very special, intelligent, beautiful, sweetheart who is full of energy and has a smile that can light up a room. I have no doubt that Valerie can and will do anything she puts her mind to. Best wishes, Ms. Mary Ellen

Marissa Conlon, United States, NY
6/9/2014 9:55:05 PM
Valerie's story is so special. I have watched Valerie for a very long time and over that period, I have watched her grow and succeed expectations. She is smart, loving, and funny. Her warm personality instantly lifts the spirit of others. She is truly a gem and will go far!! Xoxo Love you Val!

Jessica Trombino, United States, NJ
6/9/2014 9:26:32 PM
This is my favorite story. It is just so moving and gives true meaning to unconditional love.

Claudia Sullivan, United States, FL
6/9/2014 9:09:39 PM
Valerie is one of the sweetest children I know. She is my Lil Cupie Doll. She had overcome so much and continues to be an inspiration for so many. We ♡ you Valerie.

Ann Maglio Cardone, United States, NY
6/9/2014 8:53:49 PM
Valerie has a very loving and supportive family. She will go far in this world because of her family. I am happy to know such a wonderful family !!

Louisa Mandato, United States, NY
6/9/2014 7:13:39 PM
I was her caregiver at this time in Valerie's life and I will never forget this day! Valerie was such a beautiful, pleasant baby with wonderful parents and a brother! Her smile would melt your heart! She brought so much joy to my life! I never met such a sweet little angel like her! Today she is just as beautiful! I love you Valerie!

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