Dexter's Wonder Walkers Members
Jonna Stumpo
Brian Stumpo
Evelina Stumpo
Dexter Stumpo
Evanthia Brillhart
Zach Brillhart
Madison Frangos
Greg Frangos
Maiya Frangos
Emery Frangos
Sarah Evener
Caroline Evener

Dexter's Wonder Walkers

Team Walk Years: 5
https://www.ds-stride.org/columbusbuddywalk/profiles/team/ds321

Calling all Wonder Walkers!

We are so excited to participate in our favorite event of the year for the last FIVE years - COLUMBUS BUDDY WALK! We walk for Dexter and all his friends with Down syndrome. Join Dexter's Wonder Walkers for an event that you will not soon forget and make an impact on someone's life! 

Dexter was welcomed to our family on April 23, 2014. We were so excited to have a little brother for Evelina. My labor and his delivery were quick, which was a surprise two weeks before his due date. We were also surprised when we took a first look at him and saw blonde hair, almond shaped eyes and his tongue sticking out. I was scared, but Brian was reassuring me that he was fine when I first said "Downs." I didn't know what this life would be like with a baby that I initially didn't think was perfect. I questioned how I could love him. How could I have a baby boy with Down syndrome? I grieved and cried and I feared what the rest of the world would think of him. I felt alone even though we had many visitors and unsolicited hugs from nurses. I feared that Dexter would be pitied and and people would only feel sorry for him. I typed "Down syndrome" into Google and I was faced with medical documents that outlined a lifetime of causes and concerns for his growth and development, there were horrible memes making fun of people with Down syndrome, there were poems and momblogs telling me what a beautiful journey it would be. 

My heart turned from sorrow to the deepest love. He was beautiful. I could be sad, but I needed to be happy. This was my son! We would love him and do everything we could to give him the best life possible! 

We only loosely accepted his diagnosis until the karyotype came back with the confirmation. We received that confirmation from the cardiologist. Many children born with DS have congenital heart defects, and while Dexter did have a couple of small holes, they have since closed up and we were discharged from Cardiology at age two. We got Dexter signed up for Early Intervention services through Help Me Grow, he had a Physical Therapist to help him reach his gross motor milestones. We saw Audiology, visited the Developmental Disabilities Clinic, went to our scheduled Pediatrician appointments. We eventually got an OT, we saw Pediatric Ophthalmology, we got a speech therapist, we had additional genetic testing, we saw an ENT doctor, an Endocrinologist, and had monthly visits from our Developmental Specialist with Help Me Grow and he started preschool with his very own IEP. Some days (and weeks) were overwhelming, but mostly, we were raising a perfectly wonderful baby boy. 

After a few months, we attended our first Little Buddies Family Support Group Meeting which is one of many programs offered by the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio. We met other new families who had very similar experiences as us! We weren't alone! This support group gave us a whole new extended family. We attended the weekend playgroup, we signed up for our first Columbus Buddy walk just a few weeks before the deadline. 

We didn't really know what to expect at Columbus Buddy Walk. We had a small team, made a few signs and a banner and set up a tent to tailgate. I remember looking around that day and all I saw was love. All of these thousands of people were there that day because they love someone with Down syndrome. They each had someone like Dexter to love and show their support. We were welcomed as a new family on stage and my eyes were spilling over with emotion. I looked out and saw all those green shirts on those people whose hearts loved my family. 

My eyes have spilled over with emotion so many times because of DSACO, I can't even count. I get emotional at almost every DSACO event - when I see a family I haven't seen in a while, when I see a child that has mastered a skill that their parents asked how to help them achieve in a Little Buddies Meeting or on an online group, when I see new itty bitty babies who have brought their own families into our big DSACO family.  My favorite cry, though, is a Columbus Buddy Walk cry. It's a happy cry brought on by all of those thousands of people who love us and support us. 

Now, Dexter can run, jump, tickle, chase, kiss, hug, climb, swing and attempt to say what we ask him. He can thread beads on a shoestring, stack 10+ blocks, match four basic colors and sweet talk you into getting him popcorn for a snack or a cookie from the bakery at Kroger. He adores Mickey Mouse and Maui from the movie Moana. He loves to play outside, run down the sidewalk and ride his coupe car down the driveway. He's strong. He's happy. He's healthy. He's funny! He's a good friend to his preschool classmates. We are happy, healthy and strong because of support from DSACO. 

Will join us on September 30th for our 5th Columbus Buddy Walk? Will you donate to help these families who feel so lost and so surprised by a Down syndrome diagnosis feel loved and supported by the services offered by the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio? Will you help them grow happy, healthy and strong? Will you and your family be the newest members of Dexter's Wonder Walkers? We hope you say YES!

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Welcome to our 2018 Columbus Buddy Walk® team fundraising page! We can't wait to join thousands of other participants at Mapfre Stadium on Sunday, September 30th to celebrate all of our fundraising success! Please stay tuned for more information about our team regarding upcoming fundraising opportunities and our team's tailgating plans for the day of the walk. 

With over 250,000 people in the United States with Down syndrome, we strive to provide tools and opportunities that promote awarenessacceptance and inclusion in our communities. Every dollar we raise brings us one step closer to ensuring that our child and every individual will have the opportunity to reach their potential.

Our fundraising efforts will support local programs and services, as well as National Down Syndrome Society advocacy and public awareness initiatives that benefit all individuals with Down syndrome.

Make your tax-deductible donation today and take the first step toward helping us achieve our goal. Thank you for your support!

Our Funds Raised: $1,167.00
My goal: $10,000.00 11%
Donation History
Andrew and Katie Garcia $25.00
Teri Gaa $100.00
Just Smiles $500.00
Sponsorship Level: Friend Sponsor
Sarah Evener $61.00
Dexter's Mommy and Daddy $250.00
Jonna Stumpo $21.00
Brian Stumpo $21.00
Evelina Stumpo $21.00
Evanthia Brillhart $21.00
Zach Brillhart $21.00
Madison Frangos $21.00
Greg Frangos $21.00
Maiya Frangos $21.00
Emery Frangos $21.00
Sarah Evener $21.00
Caroline Evener $21.00