Thursday, May 15, 2008

An AMAZING woman

Last night I got the pleasure of meeting one of my heroes, Karen Gaffney. I read about her when Adam was just a baby, never did I think that someday I would get to hear her speak and meet her and some of her family. Karen is an avid swimmer. At 23, she successfully swam the English Channel as part of a six person relay team, she also swam in a relay triathlon in San Francisco Bay's "Escape from Alcatraz numerous times, and in September 2007 she swam across Lake Tahoe to raise money for the National Down syndrome Congress (only a few people have ever done this).

Not only is she an amazing athlete, but she is an eloquent speaker who travels the country speaking. Numerous times I had tears in my eyes hearing her speak. She had great confidence and was witty. I wanted everyone I know, to hear her. She has done more with her life than most people even dream of. In a nut shell her speech was about, how we need to ignore all the "old data" the "experts" have on down syndrome and imagine the possibilities, which truly are endless. Karen has a two year Associate of Science degree from St. Mary's Academy Communtity College and has created her own foundation and is President of a nonprofit organization dedicated to the full inclusion and acceptance of people with disablilities in Schools, workplaces, and communities. Karen is a perfect example of why we can not let the label of down syndrome put our children in a box, they ARE people first and you never, never know just who they might become.... To check out some video of Karen's swim go to

1 comment:

Melissa Irwin said...

This is awesome! So happy to hear about her.