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

National Down Syndrome Society
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New York New York 10017
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Pure Grace
Solana Gracia and her contagious smile. She is our Pure Grace.
Solana Gracia and her contagious smile. She is our Pure Grace.
Pure Grace

When I look into Solana's eyes I see hope, faith and unconditional love all rolled into one beautiful little girl. If only the world could see what I see. In August of 2010 I entered Solana in the Parents Magazine Cover Contest. I posted the voting link on Facebook thinking a few of my friends would vote and that would be the end of it. What happened was something that I never dreamed possible! Solana had come in first place out of over 95,000 entries! As the Readers' Choice Winner, we were flown to New York City and spent five wonderful (at times challenging) days exploring the city, walking mile after mile (with two kids and one stroller not good planning on my part), knowing this was the chance of a lifetime. A chance to let the world see Solana as a beautiful little girl, that will have her own dreams and aspirations, her own challenges and triumphs, but was born with one big roadblock: peoples' preconceptions of what she will or will not do. Entering her into the contest proved to be so much more than just an opportunity to be a cover girl. I took it as an opportunity to help educate thousands on Down syndrome and ran with it! There were daily posts on what Down syndrome is and isn't, stories about inspiring individuals with Down syndrome, recommended reading and resources, as well as words of wisdom for other parents that were just starting down the same journey. We even started a campaign to Oprah pleading for her to have a one hour show just on Down syndrome (still haven't heard from her, but I am always available to take her call)! In the end Solana didn't win the cover, but that didn't matter. In the months leading up to the November issue that featured the editors' final choice, Parents magazine featured stories on Down syndrome in two separate issues! For two months the magazine made its way into doctors' offices, hospitals and mailboxes around the country! Yes, seeing her on the cover would have been the icing on the cake, but education was what it was all about! I firmly believe that through education and leading by example that we can teach our children acceptance, tolerance, sense of community and the beauty of diversity. Solana has taught me about compassion, patience, living in the moment and not taking even one day for granted. She has taught me that you only need to have a heart full of grace and a tender, loving soul to make a change in the world. When I look at the world now, I try to see what Solana sees. I try to feel what she is feeling and more than anything I try to love like she loves. With Solana we walk the road less traveled. With our heads held high, not looking back with regret or sorrow, but with the knowledge that we are in the presence of true grace and more importantly our own COVER GIRL!

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Comments (1,000 character limit)

chevelle Lassai, United States, CA
4/6/2011 3:15:28 AM
Good Luck

Angela M Milligan, United States, ID
3/29/2011 10:39:45 PM
Go Solana!

Judy Feltman, United States, TX
3/29/2011 10:08:30 PM
Good luck Solana, little Princess Grace!

kristin miller, United States, TX
3/16/2011 11:26:30 AM
I love this little girl and her whole family! Good Luck Solana : )

Nikki Rokenbrodr, United States, WI
3/16/2011 9:05:25 AM
I had the honor of meeting Solana. She is beautiful!

Brenda, United States, MI
3/4/2011 8:38:56 PM
Solana not only smiles but encourages everyone to smile on a daily basis. Every life she touches is a life that shines even brighter.

Felicia Dickerson, United States, TX
3/3/2011 11:08:30 PM
Go Solana!! Changing minds one day at a time!

Paige Augustino, United States, WI
3/3/2011 4:49:08 PM
Beautiful story! Honored to take part in this effort. Good Luck and God Bless!!!

Leena John, United States, TX
3/3/2011 5:00:01 PM
Good luck!

Azalia Almaguer, United States, TX
3/3/2011 6:38:01 PM
I have been blessed to be able to spend time with Solana, and I couldnt agree more with the words used to describe her. Tender, loving and absolutely beautiful.

Sue Hunt, United States, IL
3/3/2011 5:46:42 PM
very pretty and precious little lady.

Angela Milligan, United States, ID
3/3/2011 5:38:05 PM
This girl is precious!!!

Jen K, United States, TX
3/3/2011 5:25:02 PM
Good Luck!

Kileen McDonald, United States, TX
3/4/2011 8:43:29 AM
Good Luck Solana !!!

Cynthia Buckner , United States, TX
3/4/2011 2:21:30 PM
What an awesome lil girl!!!

Mary Emery, United States, WI
3/6/2011 9:07:48 AM
Solana is truly a beautiful little girl, inside and outside. With Christian, we know first hand the love, joy, and laughter these wonderful little people bring to so many. Thank you for trying to bring more attention to people with Down Syndorme.

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