When our daughter Dani was born, doctors told us not to expect much from our child. They told us she would likely never walk, talk or become a contributing member of society. Our son had already been diagnosed with autism, and the early days were tough, as we lived in fear about what our lives would become. Thankfully the doctors were wrong, especially about our miracle girl, Dani.
Dani is a typical ten-year-old, who just happens to have Down Syndrome. She has never let her diagnosis stop her from achieving anything. She takes karate, plays soccer and softball, and cheers for Burton Elementary. She is also a proud part of the adaptive swim team at the YMCA.
As a baby it was evident that Dani loved the water. As a toddler she would jump into any pool and come up giggling. Because of her “no fear” mentality, we knew it was time for swimming lessons to keep her safe. When she was 7, Dani began swim lessons at the Y. At first, she struggled to keep up, but she kept trudging along.
One day, we had the opportunity to watch a swim competition. Dani loved it, proclaiming that one day she was going to “win all the races!” When we found out the YMCA had an adaptive swim team for Special Olympics, we couldn’t wait to sign her up!
Unfortunately, swim team comes at a cost, and having two special needs kids bring a number of financial hardships. We were devastated when we couldn’t afford to sign Dani up for swim lessons and swim team.
Then, some amazing things started to happen. If you don’t already know, I can tell you that the YMCA is like a family. And in that moment, our Y family rallied around us. Staff members and other adaptive swim team parents learned about our situation, and came to us, asking to support Dani and her dream. Through the generosity of this amazing YMCA network, Dani began swimming with the Geauga Otters Swim Team in September 2016. Through swim lessons and team practice three times a week, her swim strokes became stronger and she improved immensely.
Today we are excitedly helping Dani get ready for her time trial for the Special Olympics. We are so proud of our miracle child, and so grateful to the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, for helping us to help Dani achieve her goals.
The YMCA provides health, hope and community to so many individuals like Dani and her family. Your support of our mission helps us ensure that no one is ever turned away. Become a part of the YMCA family and donate today.
“Today we are excitedly helping Dani get ready for her time trial for the Special Olympics. We are so proud of our miracle child, and so grateful to the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, for helping us to help Dani achieve her goals.”