Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2 for 2: Pay it Forward

I've been trying to write this post all day. I've promised myself that I will never write something that's important to me unless I really feel it. Well, this is important.

While the easy current of everyday life may make us forget about Down syndrome a lot, we are two weeks away from the anniversary of a day when the idea of Down syndrome weighed so heavily on me, I lost myself for a moment.

The word anniversary just doesn't do that day justice now. It's a celebration. Of her. Of how we've changed. Of all the beauty in the world we overlooked for so long.

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I was recently asked what my favorite post from 2011 was. I thought about it for a moment, scanning through memories of old posts--personal things, funny things, happy things--and then it dawned on me. It's the post I wrote to launch Nella's ONEder Fund last year. Why? Because I learned from it. I was nervous to set a $15,000 goal, thinking we wouldn't get there. And the impact that followed? Over $100,000...because of you. How much I learned those weeks--about the other families in our D.S. community, about the generosity of people I had never met, about the magnitude of effect we all possess.

We're doing it again--asking for your help, setting out to remember January 22, 2010 in a way that will help make life better for anyone who possesses the magic of the extra 21st chromosome.

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This year, we are launching the 2 for 2 Fund--hoping to raise $200,000 by the time Nella turns two. We're more than half way there, thanks to you. A little more than $75,000 to go.

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Every dollar given to the 2 for 2 Fund supports the NDSS whose mission is to to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.

Things are changing in our society, but it's only because people are working hard to change stereotypes, to recognize abilities and to tear down walls of discrimination.

I come to you as a mama.

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What does any mom want for her child? Hope. Hope for a successful future, happiness, the opportunity to fulfill dreams.

And when you're told your child has Down syndrome, for a moment, you think you have to give all that up.

Thanks to the NDSS and many others that join our cause, there is hope. We want the world to know that people with Down syndrome are doing great things with their wild and precious lives.

Just ask Leah.

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Or Michael.

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Talk to Jon about adventure.

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Or Josh & Nicole about love.

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I am ecstatic about the potential for what our kids will do in twenty years. What will the future hold for Nella's friends?

Like Millie.

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And Drew.

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And Sophia Rose.

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And Kayla who, by the way, can read. Big words in big books. And she can write. Because Sister is amazing.

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I know these families. I've shared e-mails and phone calls and have met many of these kids and their parents, and all we want is for the world to see what we see.

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That Lily is just like any other kid.

And George? Well, ask his siblings. One of them recently told his mom, "Mom, does it ever bother you that everyone in our family loves George best instead of you?"

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Perhaps the best spokespeople of all for these kids are their brothers and sisters.

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Kate and her brother

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Nora and her family


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I don't want anyone to ever tell me that my child's dreams are limited because of an extra chromosome.

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Aaron

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Alex

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Sarah & Levi

And so I'm asking you for something. For Nella. For our family. For all these beautiful capable children and their families and thousands of others.

Please give back. If you are a regular reader of this blog, here's an opportunity to pay for a subscription. Whatever you can give. A whole 'lotta $5 and $10 donations went a long way last year. We can do it again.

For her birthday, we ask you to help us make a home run. 2 for 2, Baby.

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Join with us in raising awareness and creating more opportunities for individuals, more hope for families.

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Share on your Facebook, e-mail it, spread the word.

We are sincerely grateful as are the hundreds of other families who celebrate their own little magic.

Two years ago, right now? I had no idea what was in store. How could I ever had known how much joy that baby was going to bring us? I want the world to know that joy. Help me do it.

Two Weeks. Two Hundred Thousand Dollars. We can do it.

Click on any of the links to the 2 for 2 Fund in this post, click on the 2 for 2 banner at the top of the site, or click on the 2 for 2 logo in the sidebar to give.

Thank you, thank you.

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239 comments:

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April Vernon said...

I have looked at the pictures in this post over and over again with joy. Thanks for sharing these dream-reaching young people with us. It gives me such anticipation for Levi and whatever he chooses to do with his life. I just put a link to this post on my blog & hope it brings many people to your blog.

Amanda said...

I almost cried.
Thank you.

I donated for the first time this year.

Linda MG in Soquel, CA said...

* To Jen Jeffers - SO glad to read that you are a natural cryer too! Yep, I cry about all that you listed, and more. I think there are many of us out there! ha.. ANd * to MOLLY - oh YES, i think many of us can relate - too funny! My husband listens to me talk about Kelle and Nella and rolls his eyes, but in a kidding way and says "Maybe we shouldnt have gotten a computer". I tell him to bite his tongue- it has brought me close to so many!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Nella is BEAUTIFUL and I can only begin to imagine the joy that she brings into your lives. Once the words Down Syndrome were announced, I am sure the next thing that happened was...OK how do we accept and move forward in loving and raising Nella...exactly the same way any child should be raised. They all have a personality, they all have needs and they all have certain gifts to be explored. I can see that Nella will have a precious life on course with your family. All of the delightful people that you have shared in this post, have and will make an impact in this life, all for the better. One very special family is that of my nephew Roy Foster. He, Lisa, big brother Grant and little man Drew, are family. Drew will have a chance at the most fulfilling life he can obtain, because of the love, devotion and dedication of his family. The one word that comes after love, is acceptance. Once the words Down Syndrome have been spoken... then life can begin once again. Many blessings your way~

Scott said...

Nice blog, hi friend, i found that there is one website offering free puzzle games. Just take one minute to sign up then you will receive one free puzzle game. Its URL is http://www.684899.com/en/CosmicCreature/project_1.htm Click the below button of the page to get in. I've done it and now i am enjoying it.

Ingrid said...

Donated to support the beautiful Nella xx

Little Acorn Learning said...

I wanted you to know that I nominated your blog for the Versatile Blogger Award. The information is here for you http://eileensplace.blogspot.com - thanks for such a beautiful place to visit!

Becky D. said...

Kelle-
Love your writing, inspirational photography, and beautiful family. Any chance you'd be willing to share your Instagram template with us all?

Happy birthday sweet Nella!

Becky

cVines said...

Posted both on pinterest and facebook. Good luck Kelle! You're doing great things to help create an awareness.

susan said...

I think this is one of my favorite posts. I loved the pictures. I think the wedding ones were my favorite. It gives me hope... When I was in the hospital I would cry and think about Jana and how she was not going to get married. That broke my heart. Now I know that she may find someone just as special as her and get married:) Thanks for all you do! Love you Kelle

Kelly Cach said...

I tried to post a comment the other day, but it wouldn't let me. And that's okay because it gave me time to scan the other comments. And let me tell you, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for so many lovely, giving people! Gratitude for complete strangers like Angela & Molly, and moms that DON'T have a child with special needs, and for women who don't even have children yet! And gratitude for Kathryn's story (of "The Greers"), who also happens to be a best friend to MY NIECE! Hi Kathryn! Sooo cool to see you commenting and reading Kelle's blog...YAY!!!

.....as if seeing our Nora on here wasn't reason enough for tears :)

I love people.

Monique said...

Absolutely amazing!! You truly are a gift from the heavens where unicorns gallop and rainbows fill the skies!! Not only are you a gift to that gorgeous, scrumptious daughter of yours...little Ms. Nella (and of course BIG sis Lainey)...but to all those beautiful inspiring individuals that carry that extra magic!!
I love what this post is doing...creating an awareness that HOPE does exist for ALL families!
Thank you Kelle Hampton for sharing your family, your dreams and your heart with the world. I wish you all the best in reaching your 2 for 2 goal...you will surpass it!!
Sweet #2 to you little Ms. Nella!!

LOVE all the photos in this post...but my favoriteS are the ones of Nella on her red chair!! You know how to capture that spunky spirit of hers!! Squeeze a BIG hug on her for me!!

Cheers!
Monique

Nikki Nalbach said...

Your blog is inspiring on so many levels. You rock as a mom but also as an advocate. Your two beautiful girls are so lucky to have you as their mommy.

Unknown said...

I love your blog. Your words and photos share your life in a happy, interesting, and inspiring way. Yours is the only blog I regularly read. It's definitely worth the "subscription" for a wonderful purpose.

Everyday I am enjoying my own beautiful baby boy who just happens to have Down Syndrome.

Kristi said...

This entire post? Awesome!

Olivia : I am still learning said...

You are doing amazing things Kelle. Your words and actions are an example to us all. I wish you and your family nothing but the best!

I pledge to donate $10.
It's not a lot I know, but it's what we can afford right now.

Hazel said...

Happy Birthday Nella.
I like the thought of it as a sort of subscription Kelle, I don't buy magazines or newspapers anymore, I find reading your blog and others is so much better. Not only is it more uplifting, you and others are real, and so are much more inspiring than some random celebrity, or someone's posh house that just makes me feel rubbish about my own!
Not to mention the sense of community out there in the blogosphere.

Rock on the 2 for 2 I know you'll surpass the total for sure.

Monica said...

I saw this and thought of you:). You've probably already seen it though! So sweet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkNzRjXK3hc&feature=share

Midwestgirl said...

You doubled it and so did I! Twice as much as I donated last year! Happy birthday Nella! You are a gorgeous little girl to watch grow and I know you, like so many others, will accomplish amazing things!

The Devlin Family said...

A very inspiring post and I can relate to every word. Although our son is missing the magic extra chromosome, he has some other special attributes that have changed the whole way we see the world and dream about his future. Beautiful photos of beautiful kids living great lives. Bless you for bringing awareness not only to the potential in kids with down syndrome, but to all kids who have something "special" that makes them unique.

Ashley @ Coffee and Apple Juice said...

oh my gosh! I LOVE this post.... especially the wedding pictures.

pamelaboesch said...

Kelle, as a new subscriber to your blog, and mom-to-be for the first time, I cannot express how touching your words and pictures have been. I always look forward to reading your posts and share them with anyone who will listen. It was truly ironic that my friend shared your blog with me (unknowingly) on the day I went to have my prenatal blood tests for down syndrome and SB. I cherish your story about Nella and shared with my husband immediately. Your NDSS fundraiser is inspirational and I simply wanted to let you know that you've tugged at the heart strings of another stranger on the east coast, who cannot wait to purchase Bloom!

All the best,
Pamela

KatharineLilley said...

This entire post was simply stunning. Thank you. I will be donating as soon as I get the debit card back from husband.

Brandy said...

I look forward to reading your posts. I don't think I've missed any since I found your blog. It was a pleasure donating to the 2for2 fund. Nella is absolutely gorgeous. You have an amazing gift, thank you for sharing with us. I hope Nella has a wonderful 2nd birthday. I can see her changing the world! :) We can't forget about sweet Lainey as well. You can see the love she has for her sweet sister.

Kacie said...

LOVE it. I'm the older sister of a 17 year old Downs Syndrome boy named Matt, who is amazing. http://wellthoughtoutlife.blogspot.com/2011/03/happiness-vs-self-sacrifice.html

The Smittys said...

Love it. Love it. And love it some more. And we are fostering a little lady named Nella right now. :) Sweet name for sweet girlies!

Makay said...

Inspiring.
Refreshing.
Precious.
Thank you.
Ky
www.thebirdssay.blogspot.com

Jannelle M said...

You bring me to tears every time!! Happy Birthday to Nella!! I remember her first birth post! You and your family are just amazing!! XO

Hannah said...

http://www.wolfhirschhorn.org/2012/01/amelia/brick-walls/

Sad story. They could use some support.

Emma R said...

Ahhh, tears Kelle! Such a beautiful post, highlighting the amazing potential of these beautiful people. You're changing the world!

joyjoy. said...

nora and her family: they are my famliy-my aunt uncle and beautiful beautiful cousins. all so sweet. all amazing. loving. makes my heart beat a little faster to see them on here-thankyou for your blogs :)

Zoƫ said...

This is inspiring, amazing, and utterly beautiful. Your musicbox was playing "The Winner Is" by Devotchka and it was just the perfect amount of music for the entire post...and it made me cry. These pictures and this story to this music was just stunning. Best wishes to you and your cause.
Nella is gorgeous and full of sunshine. Happy birthday to her. :)

Loom and Boards said...

I found your blog because of your upcoming book that I can't wait to read! Nella is an absolute DOLL!! I have a 3 year granddaughter with DS. It has been a learning experience but OMG I would not trade it for the world. She is such a joy (even when she is adamantly independent lol). I am really enjoying reading your blog and have sent the link to my daughter to share!!

Aleksandra S. said...

I love your blog. You are amazing!

Charlotte said...

This post is wonderful, you are such an inspiring person and mother. Your daughter is beautiful, and so lucky to have you and her family in her life. xxx

Soul Randomness said...

nella looks so happy and curious just how a child should be ^_^

Heather Guyton said...

She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen! Both of your girls are just absolutely gorgeous! I don't know Nella but I love her! Your story is amazing and you are an amazing writer! I can tell that you are one proud momma! And i would be to! I wasn't able to donate much, but I hope that it helps!! I work with children and let me just say, each and every one of them is a blessing from God in every form and fashion they come in. Forget what society thinks of children with DS and how they won't go far! Because with enough love, they will soar! God never makes a mistake and your daughter is living proof of that because she is beautiful! I hope that you and your family's lives have an abundance of blessings! Let God shower you with love! And i send you my love, from alabama, I wish ya'll the very best!

Heather Guyton said...

She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen! Both of your girls are just absolutely gorgeous! I don't know Nella but I love her! Your story is amazing and you are an amazing writer! I can tell that you are one proud momma! And i would be to! I wasn't able to donate much, but I hope that it helps!! I work with children and let me just say, each and every one of them is a blessing from God in every form and fashion they come in. Forget what society thinks of children with DS and how they won't go far! Because with enough love, they will soar! God never makes a mistake and your daughter is living proof of that because she is beautiful! I hope that you and your family's lives have an abundance of blessings! Let God shower you with love! And i send you my love, from alabama, I wish ya'll the very best!

Heather Guyton said...

She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen! Both of your girls are just absolutely gorgeous! I don't know Nella but I love her! Your story is amazing and you are an amazing writer! I can tell that you are one proud momma! And i would be to! I wasn't able to donate much, but I hope that it helps!! I work with children and let me just say, each and every one of them is a blessing from God in every form and fashion they come in. Forget what society thinks of children with DS and how they won't go far! Because with enough love, they will soar! God never makes a mistake and your daughter is living proof of that because she is beautiful! I hope that you and your family's lives have an abundance of blessings! Let God shower you with love! And i send you my love, from alabama, I wish ya'll the very best!

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