Just as NDSS makes it a priority to share stories of the many unique abilities and talents of individuals with Down syndrome, we also enjoy highlighting the families that make up the Down syndrome community because each has their own story and their own approach to making life meaningful for their loved one. The Sharon Family is one of the many families we have met that embodies the NDSS mission in their home and community, and is committed to enhancing the quality of life for their son and brother, Jesse.
Wendy and Nir Sharon live in Florida and have four sons: Joshua (11), Jake (8), Jonah (4) and Jesse (1.5), who was born with Down syndrome. At the time Jesse was diagnosed with Down syndrome, the Sharons were also informed that Jesse would need heart surgery. Jesse’s surgery was this past August when he was 14 months old.
Wendy and Nir are committed to Jesse’s physical and mental wellness. In addition to preparing him emotionally for his heart surgery and surgery to insert tubes in his ears shortly thereafter, they also focused heavily on his diet to promote strength and immunity. Wendy is a trained chef in the raw food movement and she prepares meals for Jesse that includes fruits, vegetables, quinoa and goat’s milk. People with Down syndrome are at a higher risk of developing autoimmune diseases, one of which is Celiac disease. Wendy and Nir plan to make Jesse’s diet a priority along with all of his therapies and educational development.
Jesse’s three brothers are loving, caring and sensitive. Jonah is a great playmate for Jesse and helps with his motor skills and stimulation exercises. Jake recently decorated his class journal with photos of Jesse and often discusses with his parents how he will make sure that Jesse is always accepted and included. As the eldest, Joshua sets an example for all of his brothers. His teachers go out of their way to tell Wendy and Nir how empathetic he is to his peers.
Last year, the six of them attended their first Buddy Walk®. Jesse was just a few months old, so they used it as an opportunity to meet other families and learn more about the cause. Just one year later, their Buddy Walk® team was made up of 90 people and they secured a local company to sponsor their team t-shirts.
Since Wendy is originally from Massachusetts and Nir’s family is in Israel, they created a fundraising page using NDSS Your Way to reach far and wide. They surpassed their online fundraising goal and raised more than $3,000. An additional $1,000 was raised locally and donated by their team members to the “Are You Down With That Walk” Buddy Walk® in Naples, Florida.
We congratulate Wendy, Nir, Joshua, Jake and Jonah for honoring and celebrating their son and brother Jesse in such a special way. He is lucky to have advocates like you in his life and NDSS is grateful for your fundraising efforts.