Back in October of 2012 when we first started brainstorming ideas of what the Runnning for Lily mission/purpose would be, I remember finally coming to the conclusion that we had to narrow our goal. We are only one family and can’t change the world.
I was then confronted with a mind boggling statistic that has stuck with me ever since. The statistic of 90%. This number represents the percentage of women that after doing prenatal testing and discovering that their unborn child will have Down syndrome, decide to abort. Kristin and I decided against doing prenatal testing as we both agreed that the results of the test would not alter our thoughts on whether or not to continue the pregnancy. This post is not meant to persuade you to not do prenatal testing as I believe that is a personal decision that each couple should decide to make themselves. In our case, we found out that the prenatal test had a high false positive and it wasn’t worth the added stress that it could cause to Kristin and our beautiful little girl that we were so anxious to meet.
“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead
My hope for Runnning for Lily is that we can impact at least one family. That there is one family today, tomorrow, next week, next month, whenever….that is expecting and has been following Runnning for Lily. This family has no ties with Down syndrome, but after seeing all of the videos, photos, stories of Lily and her accomplishments, has discovered how happy she makes her parents and most importantly how much NOT of a burden she is to her family and to society. This same couple decides that they want to be as prepared as possible so they do prenatal testing. After anxiously waiting, they get the unexpected test results that tell them that their unborn child will have Down syndrome. The fear sets in. They discuss the possible option of abortion…of adoption. They then take a deep breath and recall Lily’s smiling face. The couple than recalls a Run Up for Downs race that they attended the year prior. They didn’t attend the race because of the cause, but more because other friends were doing it that weekend and wanted something to do that evening. They remembered all of happiness that they observed within the families of those that had a child with Down syndrome. One of the them takes a deep breath and says, “You know what…we are going to be fine! I can’t wait to see how much joy and happiness this child is going to bring into our lives.”
Ok, I will admit…some of that dialogue might be asking for a little much. Nevertheless, I hope sharing our story, having people nationwide proudly sport their Runnning for Lily or Run Up for Downs shirt, and hosting Run Up for Downs races across the state of Mississippi, will help in the process of changing perspectives in our society. The couple from the future that I am talking about above…I want them to embrace their child when they first meet him/her and not spend the first week or two filled with fear and uncertainty.
Yes, our story, shirts, and races aren’t going to change the world. We might have no effect whatsoever on that 90% statistic. My initial goal remains though….to change the mind/perspective of one family. When people meet Lily for the first time, I don’t want them to see Down syndrome…I want them to see Lily. I want them to see the beautiful girl, inside and out, that I see.