Each year, we are fortunate to be one of the beneficiaries of the proceeds of The ChippenWhales Polar Plunge—hosted by Children’s Charities of the Midlands a non-profit organization established to better the welfare of kids in need.  This year’s plunge into the cold water of Lake Carolina in Columbia, will take place Saturday, January 16th. You can support the event through their exciting online auction or making a donation. Gary Matthews, event organizer, interviewed one of our families this week. Find out more and read the inspiring story of Lizzy Samples, as told to Gary from from Lizzy’s mom, Jenny Anderson:

Imagine yourself or your spouse being 12 weeks pregnant.  You’re excited going into your doctor appointment, but in an instant, you’re told that you child will have a genetic disorder.  You’re now filled with a completely different list of emotions as the doctor explains your options including abortion.  For most of us, we haven’t or won’t experience this outcome.  But for this week’s profile, that’s exactly what happened to Jenny.

Jenny was distraught with the news of her child’s diagnosis, but early on she was referred to Family Connection of South Carolina, a non-profit organization that provides services and resources to families who have a child with a disability.  They connect parents one-on-one support and provide guidance with the complex healthcare system. Family Connection also helps parents collaborate with their school system to make sure their child’s special education supports and services are carried out effectively. Jenny emphasizes that the support she received from Family Connection helped her find a network of parents and services that helped make their family’s journey less overwhelming, and they are still actively involved with the organization.

At 34 weeks, she gave birth to Lizzy while on vacation.  Certainly, an early surprise, but the diagnosis of Down syndrome was no longer scary.  Lizzy is now 5 years old and cute as can be (picture attached with her mom (jenny), Jacki from Family Connection, and myself).   50% of children with Down syndrome experience heart defects.  Lizzy went through multiple heart surgeries which has driven them to get involved with the Heart Association along with doing the Family Connection Buddy Walk event.  Lizzy loves getting involved with these events which was evident when she showed me her specific walk and cheer.  Jacki Garbinsky, Director of Marketing and Events for Family Connection says Lizzy is certainly a “Star” in the making.  Lizzy loves to sing, play with her dolls, and truly loves school.  Her favorite classes are reading and writing workshops.  Lizzy loves it so much her favorite activity is being the teacher while “playing school”.

A key message from Jenny is that their struggles are very similar to other families without a child that has a disability.  She says all will be ok in the end, and she’s so delighted she chose life for Lizzy.  She’s excited about watching Lizzy’s future develop.  She was so thankful for the support groups provided by Family Connection.  They have played a key role in helping her manage through life with Lizzy.

As you know by now, The ChippenWhales will be Freezin’ for a Reason on January 16th.  We will do the hard part.  Your role is easy.  Just click the links below and contribute to the success of us helping the non-profits that dedicate their lives to helping people just like Lizzy.  We are just over a week away.  Please help us as this is an unusual time.  Children’s Charities of the Midlands needs your support.  Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about Lizzy and Family Connection!  For more information on the organization visit www.familyconnectionsc.org.

Click these Links for more information:

To Donate: https://www.gofundme.com/CW2021

View the online auction

(If you have a business or item you would like to promote through our auction, please contact me.  We have added some new items this week.

Offline Donations payable to Children’s Charities of the Midlands can be mailed to:
Gary Matthews
344 Harborside Cir
Columbia SC 29229