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Welcome to CarolineandFriends.com!

Our Story

April 14th 2004 started out as a pretty normal day.  I had a routine check up with my O.B. as I was in my 37th week of my second pregnancy.  I left my office for an 11:00 a.m. appointment.  An hour later I was at the hospital having tests run because my doctor was concerned by the lack of movement of my baby girl.  By 1:00 p.m. I was being induced.  Shortly after midnight Caroline McMahon Mayers was born.  The events of this one day mirror our journey with Down Syndrome - ignorance, then fear, finally followed by bliss.

Without even closing my eyes I can take myself back to the minute our pediatrician came in to the delivery room and said he suspected Caroline had Down Syndrome -my heart races and a sense of panic sets in.  I really knew nothing about it.   I didn’t even know anyone whose life had been directly touched by it.

I can remember sitting in my hospital bed thinking crazy thoughts like “we’ll never be able to go to Disney World as a family,” and “what will we do about schools?”  Caroline wasn’t even 24 hours old.  All these concerns were fueled by the print outs on Down Syndrome from the internet my husband brought from home.   The book they gave me at the hospital did even less to alleviate my fears.

As vivid as that sense of panic remains, it is completely eclipsed by the joy in my current life.  I have had two occasions recently to speak with people who have just been faced with the diagnosis of Down Syndrome.  I told them both that if I could I would take them from where they were at that moment to where I was in my life; I would do it in a heart beat.  I hope through “Caroline & Friends” to do just that for countless others.

It sounds crazy to say, but Caroline’s Down Syndrome is the best thing that ever happened to me.  It is certainly not the best thing that ever happened to Caroline, but it is not the worst either.  I had a mother of a young boy with Down Syndrome tell me once that if she could change it for her son she would, but she wouldn’t change it for her.

Caroline brings joy to a room that is beyond comprehension until you have experienced it first hand.  Someone else told me that in some faiths they teach that children with Down Syndrome are sent to the earth to teach us lessons about life and love.  I know that to be true.  I’m a better person and mother to all my children because of Caroline.  Everyday when I look at her I am reminded of what is truly important.

I’m not an expert on anyone but Caroline.  I know we have tried some things that really seem to be working and we are always searching for some thing else we should be doing.  My greatest fear is that she’ll be 8, 10, 15 or some other age and a doctor will look at me with dismay and say “I can’t believe you haven’t been doing __________ for Caroline.”
  
I believe in never setting the bar too low for any individual with Down Syndrome.  Only God knows what Caroline can and can’t do.  We haven’t found anything yet.  She may do some things at a slower pace than her sisters, but she gets there just the same.   Last year at a routine checkup at the Hope Haven Clinic in Jacksonville, I had a doctor ask me how often we videotaped Caroline.  I said we did at Christmas, birthdays, recitals and such.  He said that we should tape her more often because he was sure that when 60 minutes did a story on her in 20 years they would want the footage.  Imagine my pride at that moment. 

In six years we have met incredible individuals with Down Syndrome.  If you are just facing a diagnosis I know that is hard to believe.  If you are fortunate enough to have someone with Down Syndrome in your life, you know exactly what I mean.  Is every day easy?  Absolutely not.  Are there far more great days than bad days? Absolutely.

Hopefully from this website and its links you will find information that will help you.  We aren’t experts so we don’t quote statistics.  We just want to be a clearing house for as much information as possible. Knowledge and a game plan when it comes to Caroline always make me feel better.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or you have information to share that might be useful to other families.

 

If you would rather donate online to Caroline & Friends instead of by mail, you can use this Paypal link. Thanks!

 

 

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