Furry Friend 5K is on for April 13th

Humane Society Announces 2013 5K Fundraiser for Saturday, April 13th
The Humane Society of Bay County’s Board of Directors, Staff and Volunteers are gearing up for the third annual Furry Friend 5K. It will be held on Saturday April 13, 2013 at A.L. Kinsaul Park (Lynn Haven, FL) and will start at 7 a.m. (CST) (registration from 6:00 to 6:45 a.m.). HSBC has designated Sunday, April 14, 2013 as a rain date in the event of inclement weather on Saturday.
This will be a fun-filled event with a full (professionally-timed) 5K for all ages with/without your pet, pet adoptions, pet microchipping, awards and more.SPONSORED BY: PINEAPPLE WILLY’S, CULLIGAN, FREEDOM SPORTS, POWELL BROADCASTING, WARRIOR RACE TIMING, MAGIC BROADCASTING and GORGEOUS-STRATEGIC BRANDING & DESIGN.______________________________________________________

5K RACE/WALK INFO
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The 5K will start at 7am and registration will be held from 6:00 to 6:45am. We ask that you still show up for registration even if you’ve already pre-registered. This will be a professionally timed event and we want to make sure everyone get’s timed correctly.

You can either register online (by visiting http://www.active.com/running/tba-fl/3rd-annual-furry-friend-5k-to-benefit-the-humane-society-of-bay-county-2013) or you can register on the day of.

You can also register by filing out the entry form (located here:http://adoptme.org/upload/furryfriends2013_entryform.pdf) and either mailing it to HSBC Furry Friend 5K 2013 P.O. Box 883 Panama City, FL 32402 or you can drop off at one of the locations below:

– THE HUMANE SOCIETY ANIMAL & ADOPTION CENTER (2620 E. 15th Street) (in front of Coin & Bullion Reserves)
– THE HUMANE SOCIETY THRIFT & GIFT STORE (1408 Harrison Avenue)

5K REGISTRATION DEADLINE:
Deadline for online registration – April 12th
Deadline for mail registration – mailed no later than April 5th

5K REGISTRATION FEES:
$25 for all ages; After April 12th: $35 for all ages

* PLEASE ADD A $3.95 PROCESSING FEE FOR ONLINE REGISTRATION

RUNNER/TEAM SPONSORSHIP
http://www.adoptme.org/Events_5kSponsorship.aspx

For more information, or to be a vendor or sponsor, please contact Sean Brosnan at 850-691-2725 or marketing@adoptme.org.

 

If your Valentine has Four legs……Toast for The Paws!

 

 

It’s that time of the year again, The Wine Dog in Panama City is hosting the “Toast for the Paws” fundraiser, an annual beer and wine tasting that benefits The Humane Society of Bay County.

This is the fourth year for this event and this year they have stepped it up a notch, two local chefs will be serving some of their signature hors d’oeuvres for participants as guests enjoy live Jazz music .

This popular event will be hosted by The Wine Dog in Panama City which is located at 103 West 23rd street in Coronado Village and will take place, the day after Valentine’s Day, Friday the 15th from 6 to 9 pm.

And craft beer lovers will not be left out of this event….if wine is not your thing, no worries some of your favorite top craft beers will be available to try.  Local distribitors will be on hand to answer any questions about their tasty concoctions as well.

At this event, you can also do a little shopping to help the The Humane Society, as a  Silent Auction will take place.   Thanks to the generous donations of community members last year, the silent auction portion help The Humane Society raise over $10,000 last year.

Their goal this year is to exceed not only their attendance from last year, which was two hundred, but to break that ten thousand dollar mark...can you help?

If you can not attend this event….there are other ways to show your support:

In Kind Donation of an Item the Shelter Needs (see flier below)

Monetary Donation

Donate a Silent Auction item

But if you CAN come….then come on out on Friday, February 15th and show your local Humane Society some love!

With your generousity and support the mission of The Humane Society of Bay County, which is a no-kill shelter, can continue to grow.   In fact thanks to your support, the HSBC has gone from finding homes for fifty animals a month, to over 70!  And while this is a beautiful thing, it makes the shelter, which receives no government funding, all that more dependent on community support as they require more resources for these animals every month.

Some of their wish list items include:

Purina Dog or Cat Chow

Clumping Litter

Gift Card to Sam’s, Office Depot, Office Max

Leashes, Halters, and Collars (small, medium, and large)

Liquid Laundry Soap

Pine Sol

Paper Towels

Toilet Paper

Trash Bags (13 or 33 Gallon)

So right now your task is to get up, go look in your pantry, closet, car, wherever, you store these items and put something aside for next week’s event!  Or even better email Sean Brosnan, the HSBC Marketing Coordinator and at marketing@adoptme.org and let him know your business has a Silent Auction item for him!

“Having events like this and others really helps us raise awareness for the animals we rescue and re-home daily. The Humane Society is the area’s only no-kill shelter and the proceeds from this event will help in our mission to find forever homes for the homeless animals of Bay County”, says Sean.

For more information about the work of the shelter, visit their website at www.adoptme.org.

 

ToastForPawsjpeg

Healthy Souls Yoga Fundraiser starts Saturday for Aaron Nichols

 

 

Healthy Souls Yoga program at Woodlawn United Methodist Church in Panama City Beach kicks off a month long fundraiser for the Aaron Nichols Medical Equipment Fund this Saturday, January 5th!

The Yoga meet up this weekend welcomes all  experience levels and is slotted for 800 to 930 am.  There is only a $5 minimum suggested donation, but you can give what you desire.  This will be one of the first classes this month with 100 percent of the profits going to aid the Aaron Nichols family to purchase medical equipment he desperately  needs.

Those of you that do not already know, many area businesses have already been hard at work raising money for Aaron in response to this past November’s Celebrate the Arts, in hopes to help with a piece of equipment called the RT300,

The RT300 is believed to make a dramatic difference in his recovery and pave the way to get him walking again after the car accident in 2007 left him completely dependent up on others.   The equipment costs over $20,000, and they are about a third of a way there.  Every little bit helps though and with the compassion of folks like this, his goal is looking more and more achievable.

If you can not make this Saturday’s Yoga Session and Meet Up, no worries, the Healthy Souls group will be raising money for Aaron ALL MONTH LONG, with many classes to choose from:

Mondays at 5:45 pm

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 8 am

All classes are open to men and women and no experience is needed.  Classes meet in the Youth/CR Building of Woodlawn United Methodist Church (across from Arnold Highschool) at 219 N. Alf Coleman Road.

The program makes available community yoga mats , along with blocks and straps.  However, if you have your own, you are encouraged to bring it.

Certified Yoga Instructors Laurie Olshefski, Judy Christian and Sandy Beitz hope that you  stretch your body and lift your spirit!  Their program is definately Yoga on A Mission, with a 100 percent of class donations going to local community missions, whether it be a family in need or a donation to organizations like Beach Care Services.

For more information, contact Judy at jchristian58@comcast.net or visit them on Facebook: Healthy Souls at Woodlawn.

You may go to  www.meetup.com/pcyoga to register for Saturday’s class.

 

White HOT Christmas Party at Fred Astaire

 

 

Feliz Navidad from Team Astaire!!!

 

Put your dancing shoes on for a good cause as Fred Astaire once again uses their gifts to help others in the spirit of “Celebrate the Arts”, a fundraising vehicle for local charities.

Help them “Dance for Aaron” as they welcome everyone, even and perhaps especially beginners for two FUN group dance classes and then stay for a fun night of dancing with the students and professionals of Fred Astaire Dance Studio on Thursday, December 20th.

“Aaron”, is Aaron Nichols, a former Bay High graduate who experienced a traumatic car accident a few years that left him permanently injured.  Aaron needs a piece of equipment to help with his recovery and has not been able to purchase it because of lack of funds.  The “Celebrate the Arts” event last November got the ball rolling, but several more thousand dollars are still needed to pay for the RT300 he needs.

Thursday night’s event  party will start at 6:30 with a group class of that infectious “horsey dance” to  “Gangnam Style”.

Fred Astaire will show you all the new moves of the latest pop dance that can’t help but put a smile on your face.

Following the Gangnam style class will be a beginner Latin group class at 7:15.  Then a Latin Dance Party starts at 8 pm for you to try out your new salsa moves!  Fred Astaire encourages you to bring your friends and share the experience!

Cost of this entire evening of fun is only $30 per person and includes an additional PRIVATE lesson to be used at a later time for new adult students.  Guests may also choose to just do the Gangnam Style dance for $15.  Fred Astaire will also be taking donations for Aaron, during the dance party.

To sign up for the event call the award-winning team at Fred Astaire of Panama City at 850 873 6269 or sign up for the event on their Facebook Event Page.

If you are a local business owner that would like to help out with your own fundraising idea using your product or service to help out folks like Aaron Nichols , email Britt@beachybeach.com or send a message to www.facebook.com/celebratetheartspcb.

If you know Aaron and cannot make event on the 20th, you may also make donations to his equipment fund at www.beachybeach.com/celebratetheartspcb.

Remember this  White HOT Latin party, is with a twist! Dress in your white Christmas party clothes with a little twist, like a fun red bow or a green tie….get creative and bring your dancing shoes!

And if you don’t have dancing shoes…come in anyway, Beginners are welcome and you do NOT need a partner.

See you at Fred Astaire on Thursday, December 20th and Feliz Navidad!

 

 

 

Do You Make a Mean Chili?…..Check out First EVER Chili-Palooza!

Into the Blue Surf and Sport is sponsoring a Children’s Charity Chili Cook Off Saturday, December 1st at Adventures at Sea on North Lagoon Drive in Panama City Beach.

The family friendly event will take place from 12 noon to 6 pm and feature the fares of local Chili Enthusiasts, live music and a good time.  All event entry fees will benefit local charities, of which Into the Blue Owners Tony and Erik say “are in the greatest need this time of year with the holidays coming up.”  The event is also an official “Coats for Kids” drop-off point and will also be accepting canned good donations for the Panama City Rescue Mission.

If you make a mean Chili and you want to help out your fellow Bay County residents, you can do it with only a $25 entry fee and your friends can come out to support you for just $10, kids admission is $5.00.  Participants will be asked to bring their own equipment and set up their wares at 11 am before event kicks off at noon.

For more information about Chili-Palooza, please call 850- 588-7376 or stop by Into the Blue Surf and Sport at 4032 Thomas Drive Suite C.

 

Operation Tango Heats up the Dance Floor

 

 

Operation Spay Bay needs your help. And all you have to do is break out your dance shoes and make room for some Spanish Paella.

Paella? Don’t know what it is? Who Cares? All you need to know is it is delicious and it is being served Friday November 16th alongside a fun night of Spanish Culture, music and dancing!

Have two left feet?  No worries, the professionals at Fred Astaire Dance Studios will be leading small group sessions for beginners to try some of the most popular Latin dances from the Tango to the Rumba.  No experience or partner is needed just a willingness to learn and have fun.  There will also be general dancing if you want to bypass the lesson and just enjoy the music.

Operation Tango is the perfect cure for the routine “dinner and a movie” date night  and is a great excuse to do something you wouldn’t normally do…and no worries there are no judges with score cards!  Participants can enjoy all the event has to offer for just $35 per person or $65 per couple.

Participants will enjoy authentic homemade Spanish cuisine as well as Sangria courtesy of The Wine Dog.  Tickets to this event can be purchased from The Wine Dog at 103 West 23rd Street or at Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Panama City.  You may also purchase tickets from Beachy Beach Real Estate on the West End of Panama City Beach.

Save the Date for  Operation Tango on Friday, November 16th, 7 to 9:30 pm at Fred Astaire Dance Studios at 2401 Ruth Hentz Ave off of 23rd Street in Panama City.

 

For more information visit: www.operationspaybay.org or call 850 -784- 2826.

 

Local Artists Giving their Hearts and Arts this Saturday

 

 

An intimate group of artists from all types of mediums are joining together this weekend for “Celebrate the Arts”, an event that will raise awareness and funds for Beach Care Services and local resident, Aaron Nichols, who is in need of medical equipment.

The artists will gather in front of Beachy Beach Real Estate (22600 Panama City Beach Parkway), Cerulean Interiors and Emerald Coast Family Medicine, a small plaza about a half mile east of Carillon Beach this Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.

The artists will be selling their wares, all locally designed and made and donating a portion of their proceeds back to Beach Care Services.  They will also be providing a piece of their work to be raffled off to help the cause of Aaron Nichols, who after a traumatic car accident in 2007 is still undergoing intense but hopeful rehabilitation.  The pieces they are donating are one of a kind pieces of work, some several hundred dollars in retail value, all yours possibly for the price of a few dollars for a raffle ticket.

Some of the artists that could not participate in this now annual event will still donate to the cause and we will tell you more about them later, but until then…...here is the official artist line up for CTA, this Saturday Nov. 3rd.

 

Original Stained Glass Jewelry – Eve Allgood provides beautiful stained glass jewelry that just “makes you happy” as one customer says. From necklaces to earrings, Eve’s take on somewhat simple design concepts like hearts and crosses, are anything but simple.  Her handcrafted work is highly sought after, especially her famous “Roll Tide” elephant earrings.  Email her: Eveatlarge@gmail.com

Mixed Media and Acrylic Paintings – Sharon Kator, a local favorite, many of her pieces, including those featured on WMBB, Channel 13 last week can be purchased at Cerulean Interiors.  She will be donating her original painting “Summer Beach” for the raffle, which can also be viewed inside Cerulean Interiors on PCB Parkway next to Beachy Beach Real Estate. Look for the unveiling of her website: www.glasseyedseahorse.com or email her at: swkator@bellsouth.net

Sea Inspired Custom Made Jewelry – Constance Snellgrove, Aka Sassy Jewels whose love for not only sea life but life in general, is infectious.  Once you meet her you will never forget her!  Many are familiar with her work in The Blue Giraffe in Watercolor, which is celebrating its’ Two year anniversary this week! Connie utilizes only the best of semi-precious stones, pearls from around the world, crystals and antique glass and sterling silver for her creations. Email her: sassyjewels1@yahoo.com

Reclaimed and Custom Designed Furniture– Linda Shannon of Cottage Collages.   Reclaimed designs are all the rage right now, but this woman has been doing it for over two decades.  She is a master at turning Trash into Treasure.  You have seen her work in magazines, local markets, and area stores from Peaches to Beaches, Retail Therapy and more.  Visit her Facebook page or email her: lindacottagecollages@gmail.com

Whimsical Ceramics– Dianne Register brings us “Fish Pots“.  Fun, colorful, care free, the cute little ceramic fishes by this woman look like they are ready to start a conversation with you.  She hopes you will see her “love for the Gulf Coast in the colors” she chooses. Email her at: fishpotstn@gmail.com or see some of her pictures on our Celebrate the Arts Facebook page.

Jessie Shepherd Photography – Original and Inventive perspective from a local photographer who can shoot anything from a tiger to a toddler in a tiara.  If you want something other than the cliche posed portrait, this is your girl.  Jessica also works at the North West Florida Art Center. Email her: jessieshep@gmail.com

Original and Vintage Jewelry – Fun beaded bracelets donned with vintage gypsy coins she hand picked, Carrie Vitullo also knows the art of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. And you can’t wear just one, many of her bracelets are designed to be mixed and matched.  She also offer the leather and pearl jewelry that is so popular right now. Email her: Carrievitullo@yahoo.com

Beachy signs and Home DecorGallery30A – Local artist Abby Nefe infuses her carefree spirit with her work. She is also new to CTA this year. Email her: gallery30a@gmail.com

Acrylic Paintings and Signs – Susanne Leloup-West provides a fresh, folksy take on sea and animal life of the Emerald Coast with her birds and fish not just showing up on canvas but on fun surfaces like old cabinet drawers.  The best part….the price tag. Suzanne, who showcases some of her work in Retail Therapy off of Hwy 98 in Santa Rosa Beach, offers something for every pocketbook.  Find out more about her: leloupwest@yahoo.com

“Wall Jewelry” as she calls it…PJ Lewis offers colorful and decorative tile pieces and paintings unlike any you have see in our area.  This is PJ’s first year supporting Celebrate the Artists, but she is very involved in our local artist community, also a director at the City Arts CoOP.  Email her: thatmakeuplady@gmail.com

 

Please come out and support this compassionate group of artists as they use their gifts not only to CELEBRATE the ARTS but to CELEBRATE LIFE as they raise funds for two great causes, Beach Care Services and Aaron Nichols.

Celebrate the Arts will take place on Saturday, November 3rd from 10 am to 4 pm on the West end of Panama City Beach at 22600 PCB Parkway.

Visit the CTA Facebook page for updates and pictures of some of the artwork as well as info on how you can get involved.

http://www.facebook.com/celebratetheartspcb

You can also order the first ever CTA EVENT Tshirt with proceeds going directly to Aaron Nichols to help him purchase the equipment he needs by visiting: http://www.beachybeach.com/celebratetheartspcb

 

See you Saturday!

 

Event to Benefit Beach Care Services and Aaron Nichols

 

 

What is a RT300 anyway?

The RT300 is part of a restorative therapy system that activates various muscle groups and stimulates movement…in laymen terms, it helps get someone’s muscles moving again, i.e. patients who need to relearn basic motor functions such as standing up and walking on their own.  A lot of professionals are recommending this equipment which seems to have a lot of promise…the only catch? ….it is super expensive.  We are talking mid size sedan expensive.

By now some of you know that there is fundraiser on November 3rd on the west end of the beach called “Celebrate the Arts” which will unite a group of local artists from mixed media to jewelry to reclaimed furniture who will donate a portion of their proceeds to Beach Care Services and support activities to raise funds for Aaron Nichols, who is a local resident who needs medical equipment, more specifically the RT300 to help his recovery after a traumatic car accident from 2007.

I went to school with Aaron Nichols and thinking back I can not remember since when but at least since fourth grade at Surfside Middle School.  His father taught music there, he was the band director, who I came to know simply out of proximity or when the choir room next door, my hideout was locked.

Aaron and I, though in many classes together because of  a shared academic path, were not close in school, but many of you that went to Bay High or had children or grandchildren that went to school in the late 90’s did know him.  Perhaps your son played in the band with him or your daughter came home with stories about his funny antics in history class like I did.   My memory fails me as I can not come up with any hysterical anecdotes involving him although I am sure his other classmates have them. I  mostly remember that he made me smile, like when he would insist with every teacher we had, he went by a different nickname, in history class, he was “Lance” like the Backstreet Boys.  He never wasted an opportunity to make a joke.

My question to our readers is…….if Aaron was your son, wouldn’t you want him to get that piece of equipment he needs?

Of course you would. Which is why I implore your help.  As of now, Aaron is about 14,500 short of the funds he needs to cover the entire cost of this equipment.

Local families and churches have done amazing work so far, even helping him set up an online campaign on www.giveforward.com/aaronnichols.  But the campaign expires in a few days and he still needs over 14,000!

That was not acceptable to me.  So we decided that at this year’s Celebrate the Arts, we would have a first ever EVENT T-shirt with all the proceeds going to Aaron.  A few local businesses jumped on board like Cox Pools, Setco Services , Indulgence Salon and Spa, and other private donors to help us get this project going and we appreciate them!

The t-shirt will come in short sleeve, long sleeve and youth sizes with the CTA color splash logo on front and some of the supporting businesses on the back. Prices range from $15 to $25.  You can pick up your shirt at the CTA event on November 3rd (10 am to 4pm) in front of Beachy Beach Real Estate and Cerulean Interiors or you can order via email, via Facebook, or via paypal on www.beachybeach.com/celebratethearts.  If you do order on paypal please specify whether you are making a straight donation or what type shirts you are seeking.

Want to help in other ways?  Celebrate the Arts evolved from a group of people using their talents to help others.  I am sure you have a gift that will help Aaron.

For example, maybe you want to donate a portion of the profits of your goods or services to his cause or maybe you have a printing company and you can help us continue our T-Shirt project? We have the first batch of T-shirts paid for, but we will need to order 4 more sets to reach our goal.

If you do…please share it with us at info@beachybeach.com or with myself Britt@beachybeach.com

Aaron needs $14,500 for his RT300, which is possible if 1000 locals gave $14.50 or if 500 gave $29….well you get the point.  What would you pay to stand up and walk on your own?

We can make this happen with the help of compassionate locals like yourself.

Below is a note from the Nichols family  you will find from the internet giving site that will expire in a few days:

If you’re seeing this you’re probably already aware that Aaron suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 2007 car accident. While he’s made some incredible strides in his ongoing recovery he still needs regular intensive therapy to help him continue moving forward.

Recently his physical therapist suggested we try to purchase a Functional Electrical Stimulation cycle. There are so many benefits this equipment can provide. It will help reduce the tone that keeps him from moving some parts of his body freely. The machine will help build muscle that will help him walk again, as well as improving his circulation, breathing and cognition.

The RT300 works by placing electrodes on his thighs, calves and upper extremities and stimulating those muscles to work. As he pedals he’ll get a good cardio workout and reduce tone in those muscles. This is very different from passive therapies. HIS muscles will be doing the work, not the therapist.

Unfortunately the RT 300 is quite expensive. The basic cost is more than $21,500. The cost of running this fundraiser is an additional 7%.

We have lots of long range goals for Aaron’s ultimate recovery, but our first goal is to get him up and walking again someday soon. We believe the RT300 can be key to achieving this goal. Please help out if you can, and if you can’t, that’s okay, too.

Thanks in advance,

Gary, Marabeth, Phillip, Kristen and Aaron Nichols

 

We would love to have you come out and support Aaron and Beach Care Services on Saturday, November 3rd for Celebrate the Arts.  But know that it doesn’t end with this event…..we have a RT3oo to buy folks.

Event to Benefit Beach Care Services and Aaron Nichols

 

Special thanks to the in-kind media partners who have helped us share about Aaron’s needs such as Panama City Radio Group, WMBB-TV, and Channel 7 local news stations.

Fishing Tournament along side PCB Seafood Festival

Deep-Sea & Bay Fishing Tournament is coming to Capt. Anderson’s Marina the last weekend of October.

 

They are calling it the Lionfish Dive Tournament, officially it is the inaugural  “Lion Tamer Spearfishing Tournament” and will be held in  conjunction with the PCB Seafood & Music Festival: UNwineD 2012 Saturday, Oct 27, 2012.

Capt. Anderson’s is “Calling all old salts, new salts, (even slightly salty) Fishers & Divers to take part in this awesome opportunity to have FUN, introduce a whole new generation of kids to fishing and raise money for these local Bay County Charities:  Anchorage Children’s Home, Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, and the Boys & Girls Club.”

Categories Include:
Tuna (any)/ Dolphin / Wahoo / King Mackerel
Red Grouper / Gag Grouper / Amberjack / Beeliners (Vermilion Snapper) / White Snapper (Red Porgy)
Speckled Trout / Flounder / Spanish Mackerel / Blue Fish / Pompano / Sheepshead
Lionfish / Red Grouper / Gag Grouper / Amberjack
*Lionfish will be “wild cards”, each one to count as 1 lb towards fish of diver’s choice*

Tournament Entry Fees (excluding trip cost):

– Head Boats – ONLY $5.00 for each angler
– Private Charter Boats – ONLY $25.00 per Boat up to 6 anglers, $5.00 for each extra head
– Divers –ONLY $5.00 for each diver

Tickets will be on sale until 1pm CST and must be purchased PRIOR to fishing or diving (on your honor!)

Weigh-In @ Lady Anderson dock (behind Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant):
Date:
Saturday, Oct 27, 2012

2:00 – 5:00PM DIVERS

3:00 – 6:00PM FISHERS

There are rules for the tournament that we will not go into here, other than the official tournament begins at 5 am central time, regardless of your departure time, and that there is a MANDATORY safety briefing required of participants on 10-24-12 at 7PM on the Lady Anderson.

For a more detailed list of rules, please contact Lady Anderson’s Marina, 850- 234 -3435.

There will be a FWC Tent to  educate locals about the lionfish species and how it is disrupting our local ecosystem.

Candy Hansard of the Emerald Coast Reef Association will be demonstrating how to safely handle the Lionfish, and the Boatyard Restaurant will grill them so we can all have a taste of this beautiful delicacy!

Capt. Anderson’s Marina , “Where the Fish are always biting and the Kids are always smiling” is located at 5550 N. Lagoon Dr. in Panama City Beach.

For tickets to the PCB Seafood and Music Festival itself go to: www.pcbseafoodfestival.com.

For more event listings like these or to submit your own event, go to www. carpediem365.net and after the fun is over…make sure you share your BIG CATCHES with PCB Daily!

 

PCB Chamber Seafood and Music Festival

Walk This Saturday….discover the UPS of DOWNS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever met anyone with Down Syndrome? If it wasn’t for the work of the Special Olympics or the warm-hearted cheerleader on GLEE would you even know what it looked like?

I think many of us would agree that fear comes from the unknown and being in small town USA, we are insulated from a lot of unknowns, like genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome, we don’t understand.

But did you know here in Bay County there are as many as 7 new families with children born with Down Syndrome?
On a national level one in every 733 babies in the United States is born with it, making it the most common genetic condition. About 6,000 babies are born with Down’s in the U.S every year.

But how would you know that? I didn’t until I spoke to a couple mother’s whose lives were affected….for the better, by the way. One woman, Shannon, whose family frequently visits our beaches, and hopes to call it home some day, shared with me about her experience very candidly.

 

 

Shannon’s son Lucas on our Beaches

 

After giving birth she looked at her baby Lucas, who is now the absolute light unto her path, and she knew before the doctor told her. She was terrified, she broke down into a “crying, snotty mess” she said. She realized that as a mother, one of her primal fears were ignited, something was “wrong” with her baby. But “wrong” turned out to be just “right” and the biggest blessing of her and her husband’s lifetime.

After the hormonal rush of pregnancy had subsided and she was able to reflect on her gutteral reaction she concluded most of her horror was based on pure ignorance. She had never met anyone with Down Syndrome before, she didn’t know anything about it, how was she going to take care of our baby? Isn’t that every mother’s fear that we will not somehow be equipped, i.e, good enough to take care of our children?

As I spoke with Shannon and she shared her story, her candor touched me, I thanked her for it. She simply said…”you know, your story is your story.”

Those words hit me in the face and I hope they leave a mark on yours. Your story is your story and it can be as sad or scary or beautiful as you want it to be. But before it is written, when it is still in the beginning and you don’t know what is going to happen…it can be pretty scary.

But it doesn’t have to be, you can reach out and find people to talk to, learn more about Aspergers and Autism and Down Syndrome and all of those things that terrify us because we don’t know any better. For Shannon, she read the blog by Kelle Hampton, a mother she not only connected to, but made her realize what an amazing gift she had been given.

Thankfully there are organizations that raise awareness of these issues that affect so many of new mother’s today.  October happens to be Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

If you want to learn more about Down Syndrome and have a fun, family friendly day outside, you are in luck for this Saturday, October 20th is the Annual Buddy Walk put on by Acton Up with Downs at Aaron Bessant Park next to Pier Park.

There will be lots to do at this event..Music…Food..
Children’s games and crafts…entertainment for all!
Dr. Shane of WPAP will be the MC and the Parrots Club will play music. Prosperity Bank will be keep our bellies full with hot dogs and hamburgers for all.

To find out more about this event, go to http://www.actonupwithdowns.org/ or just show up at Aaron Bessant Park this Saturday, October 20th at 9 am.

As one local parent put it….”Come out and learn more about people with Down Syndrome…and find out that we are all more alike than different.”