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Gifts : Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives

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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Hannah, you go girl!

Hannah is a friend of mine. She is entering Jr. High this month, loves playing all sports, love to swim, and happens to have Down syndrome. The picture below was selected to be in the National Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk video this year, and will be shown in Time Square September 25th. Her mom and I met via the internet and found we lived about 45 minutes apart at the time. Hannah's mom is my mentor; allowing me to vent, yet gently lets me know that this too shall pass.

Recently Hannah had yet another article written about her in her local newspaper and I wanted to share.

Big sis leading by example
By Ron Haramia
Pilot Sports

Hannah is already a great role model for her two younger sisters. And whether she knows it or not, her influence on a larger audience becomes greater and greater the older she gets. The summer basketball team that Hannah, 12, and sister Audrey, 10, played on did not win the championship in the league that finished just two days ago, but that just narrows Hannah¹s list of things to do this summer. All that is left now is her week-long summer camp, lots of swimming in the pool, tubing in Lake Monroe and readying herself for junior high.

"She taught me a lot about overcoming obstacles," said Jenna Ramer, Hannah's summer hoops coach and Plymouth High School junior-to-be. She listens so well and she works so hard. I am really impressed." One of the obstacles Ramer is referring to is the fact that Hannah has Down syndrome. But if you asked young Hannah about it, she would probably just shrug her shoulders and say, "So what?"
"I am so proud of her that I could just burst sometimes," said Shannon Samuelson, mother of Hannah, Audrey, and six-year-old Madeline. "We have high expectations for her, as we do with all of our children. She receives no special privileges at home. In fact, we may be a little harder on her since she is the oldest, but she is an excellent role model for her sisters." She is also a "wonderful" student according to mom and has been in the regular classroom since preschool.

Although she has many extra-curricular interests - including tennis, horseback riding, volleyball, roller skating lessons, golf lessons, and the bowling league she is in - basketball is Hannah's favorite. "We are sort of a basketball family and I am glad she is involved in such a positive atmosphere," added Shannon, whose husband Todd was on the 1982 PHS boys basketball state championship team and is currently on the school board. "She just loves going to the high school games. She likes the boys games, but she loves watching the girls play."
And maybe, someday, she will be one of those playing for PHS. "She is not the best on her team, but she has excellent skills," Shannon said, sounding more like a scout than a mom. "She is very aggressive on defense too." Tough on ŒD , but not defensive.
"Hannah has developed a tough exterior because of some of the prejudices she has been subjected to," Shannon admitted. "But she does not use (Down) as a crutch."
Hannah has been active in basketball camps since kindergarten. She was on Menominee's 5th grade team this past school year - most likely the first time someone with Down syndrome has done so. It's hard to say how long she will continue with the sport, but it wouldn't surprise those who know her if she suited up for the Big Red in the not-too-distant future. Or maybe she'll turn to softball. After all, her favorite athlete is Albert Pujols from that other Big Red team - the St. Louis Cardinals.

"She does her best in whatever she does," said mom. Shouldn't we all?


Tara Marie said...

We love cheering for our friend Hannah too,,,,,as she is such an inspiration!

I am so excited that I will get to see this picture on the big screen next month.

and Mauzy.....keep on musing, I'm loving your blog.

Mauzy said...

Thanks again Tara for setting me up!