Guest Blog Post by Mac Macsovits, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association and a past president of Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action.
A little over 13 years ago, my first child was born. We welcomed into the World a healthy, beautiful, innocent child. Little did we know at that time, how much our lives would forever be changed. We knew that parenting, in general, was going to change our lives, but we were not prepared when the doctor told us that our son had Down syndrome.
Looking back, a few things stick with me: first, I was not prepared for the profound change (positively) that having a child with special needs would have on me. And second, I was not aware of the many resources that were available to me, my wife, and son. In those early days we were introduced to our local affiliate here in Denver. The social worker at the hospital handed us a brochure and said: “Take a look at this, but you can’t keep it, it is our last brochure.” As I reflect on that conversation, two things come to mind: 1) why didn’t the hospital have more brochures and 2) what the hell am I going to do?
It wasn’t long before I found myself leading that affiliate that had one brochure not only at our hospital, but several medical facilities across the state. I’m happy to say we have fixed that, taken ownership of our responsibility to the hospital staff as well as the families that receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child.
I seriously doubt that our organization is much different from most out there that are serving people with Down syndrome. We have grown, continue to grow, and are leading so many families, medical professionals, educators, etc. on paths that seemed impossible to travel just 10-15 years ago. My how the times have changed. Once we take ownership of our own situation, tackle the “impossible,” and make the choice to be the difference, we can then begin to have a real impact. That is what we do, after all; we change and save lives. One at a time. With limited resources. As many have, our organization has grown and morphed over the years I have been the Executive Director. We have hit some road-blocks, accomplished things we were not meant to, and taken ownership of our future. Yesterday is gone forever, the future is yet to be, our destiny as a movement is in our hands today.
I encourage us all to honor the past, those shoulders we find ourselves standing on from previous generations in this movement. Stand tall and straight. Prepare to bear the weight of those that are counting on us, now and in the future.