While many parents find help, hope and answers for their children at Easterseals, they also often find something else perhaps unexpected — a circle of caring, supportive friends who share their same experiences, hopes, dreams, fears and triumphs. For Renee Holcomb, this has made all the difference.
Renee is the mom of Adelia, a little girl with Down syndrome who has received Easterseals services since she was 2 months old. Through many programs and a caring staff, Adelia has grown so much. And through a group of other Easterseals moms and dads, Renee has gained lifelong friends for both her and her daughter.
We were so pleased to have a question and answer session to get Renee's take on why this community matters so much.
Q: In our first interview, you mentioned not really having anyone to reach out to on the topic of Down syndrome. How did this impact you early on?
A: The fear of the unknown coupled with the feeling of being alone with no one who "gets it" was emotionally crippling. I wish the hospitals/OB would connect parents with others as soon as a diagnosis is made.
Q: What were some of the questions you hoped to find answers to?
A: What the future could hold for my sweet daughter, Adelia. I was completely and utterly ignorant to everything related to Down syndrome.
Q: Can you describe the community of parents you found through Easterseals?
A: It doesn't matter what diagnosis our children may have, we all work tirelessly for our children. We are moms (and dads) with a common goal — to give our kids the best possible start in life through therapy and interventions.
Q: How has finding this community impacted you?
A: It has created a feeling of family — one beyond those friends and family you had, but a family that feels each other's triumphs as well as each other's pain.
Q: Why do you think having this community is important?
A: Everyone needs a shoulder and an ear to lean on and listen to.
Q: Any parents in your community who stand out as great friends?
A: Yes, there are quite a few I call on constantly for advice.
Q: What activities does your group typically do together?
A: Group play dates, get-togethers in the community, and charity fundraisers.
Q: How do you think this community benefits your children?
A: It creates lifelong friends for our kids.
Q: What advice would you give to other moms of children with disabilities who feel like they may not have the community they’re looking for?
A: Keep looking; we are out there! If you live far away, reach out on social media.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a mom?
A: Knowing at the end of the day I get to do it all again tomorrow...
Read more about amazing Easterseals moms
Learn more about Down syndrome