Inspiring Stories

Alexandra CarterAlexandra Carter doesn't lack for social skills. In fact, unlike many teenagers with Down syndrome who may struggle to find their places among social groups and peers, Alexandra is outgoing and vivacious.

It wasn't always that way, though, says her mom, Latondria Spence. As a...

Taylor Wilkerson works with golf pro Kelly Tomlinson to improve his swingFrom the beginning, and without hesitation, Katherine Wilkerson always offered her unwavering support of anything her son Taylor wanted to do. The thing is, though, until the age of 9, there was never much of anything the boy was too interested in trying.

Diagnosed...

Morgan DunniganLaying in a hospital bed on a Sunday night, Morgan Dunnigan believed her parents and physician when they said she would wake up the next morning for a surgery that promised to make the pain in her neck disappear, make the tumor hurting her spine go away, make everything better.

They couldn’t have...

Ben's StoryIt was a perfect day at the beach. The sun was shining, and the water was just right. Ben and his friends splashed in the waves and built sand castles, while his mom Joanne and the other parents chatted under the umbrellas, keeping a watchful eye on the children. But as the day came to a close, everyone headed back to the house, just a...

Budding FriendshipsWeekday mornings are always a struggle in the Smith household. Like most preteens, Joseph likes to sleep. The 12-year-old is slow to start and has trouble shifting gears -especially before breakfast. Constant prompting from his mom Kathleen keeps him on track, and eventually, he gets himself bathed, dressed, fed, and...

Never Say NeverIt was spring of 2007, and the town of Hastings, Nebraska, was looking forward to summer. Memorial Day weekend had come and gone, and Kirk and Jami Ortegren had just watched their son Jack crawl for the first time.

On Thursday, May 31, they dropped him off at day care, telling the staff there that he was a little grouchy...

Girl InterruptedA faded piece of paper taped to her bathroom mirror lists the things that 20-year-old Amy Dykes needs to do each morning: take her medicine, brush her hair, wash her face, brush her teeth, apply her makeup. Today that piece of paper is seldom used, but just two years ago, it was a map that helped guide Amy through each morning....

A Mother’s Story

Collin and His Mom Lilleen with Dr. Kathryn Wagner

It’s 1976 and flash bulbs pop as eager relatives urge seven-year-old Lilleen Walters to smile for the camera. Feeling fancy in her flower girl dress, she fights to curve her lips into a smile to please the wedding...

There was broken glass and debris everywhere, and I could hear sirens in the distance. Just moments before I was sleeping in the car as we drove home from a family vacation in Florida. I was jolted awake as the car flipped over, and I could feel myself being thrown around as if I were in a washing machine. I was strangely calm, lying half in and half out of the backseat - until the paramedic checked me for injuries and I couldn't feel anything. I began to panic. When I asked if I was...

"Come here, I want to show you something," Khai Walker calls upstairs to his father. His fingers flash across a video game controller as he maneuvers a pixilated basketball player down the court. His father, Kenith, sticks his head into the room and Khai, with a few precise key strokes, guides the player through an aerial spin and perfect slam dunk.

"Nobody can beat him at his games," says his mom, Jacqueline.

Where others are all thumbs and air balls, nine-year-old Khai makes...