Special Needs Child
International Family Magazine looks to celebrate and recognize all families around the world. In our November 2005 one of our original founding creative thinkers was Crystal Bergman, a very smart, talented young woman born with Spina Bifida. Crystal was helping us look at the side of our business involving charitable donations and giving. Crystal got us very excited about the wonderful work being done around the world with the Double H Ranches at www.doublehranch.org that she had been involved with as a spokesperson for a number of years. We were so impressed with her, at some point, we asked if we could include Crystal’s story in our magazine. Crystal’s story of being challenged by Spina Bifida and growing up in a wheelchair didn’t have any mention of limitations! She said things like, “I was a cheerleader in high school,” “I am in a dance group and I teach dance to 3 year olds,” “ I play tennis, I go to camp,” and on and on. The action we wanted to take after hearing Crystal’s story was to make sure at IF Mag we told as many of these stories as we could. Why? Because if there was a misperception or a misconstrued idea around any family member it would be the special needs family member that we might think we are supposed to protect, and just sympathize. Crystal’s greatest concern was that no one protected her at all. Rather she wanted less limits, less roadblocks, less red tape to get the things she needed and wanted to compete. Her troubles were that society wanted her to stay home and receive disability and not participate. So here are a few of our grand champion families and some of their special family members who want you to know the real story, not the misperception. Crystal is now 22 years old and has recently moved into her own apartment equipped for her needs, and is actively working with her church and autistic children.
Grace and her family recently walked the Buddy Walk in NYC to show their support for the more than 350,000 individuals with Down syndrome in the United States. They wanted to do their part to make sure that each individual is given every opportunity to reach their full potential. The families’ goal of fundraising was exceeded. If you would like to donate, please go send your check to National Down Syndrome Society, PO Box 32315, Hartford, CT 06150-2315 or go to Gracie and her family’s direct donation form online at www.buddywalk.kintera.org/nyc/gracie