girl leans on a brick wall

Zoe Wingard, age 14

Photograph by LaQuanda Hart (2021)

Zoe has the kindest soul with much empathy for others. She is determined, hard-working, and optimistic. She can also make people laugh with her quirky personality and her quick wit. Zoe loves to write in her journal and watch and create YouTube videos.

A member of a local Dance Troop for 11 years, Zoe and has participated in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical and hip-hop. Every year, she works hard to learn the dances and perform with her peers in the annual recital. Zoe also completed her Silver Award in Girl Scouts as a Cadette—educating the public on Social Awareness Skill Building as well as several Take Action for the Planet journey projects around anti-littering and protecting ocean life.

Zoe has a rare type of Down syndrome—Mosaic Down syndrome. Some cells in Zoe’s body have trisomy 21, and some have the typical number of chromosomes. Zoe has had more than 15 surgeries in her 14 years including ENT-related surgeries for obstructive sleep apnea, and heart repair at the age of six months.

Zoe is fully aware of her disability and how much harder she needs to work to keep up with her peers—whether it is studying for a test, completing a school project, or participating in extracurricular activities. Zoe’s mom, Suzanne, says she is most proud of how Zoe doesn’t let that difficulty determine what she will do or how she will succeed. She has learned how to advocate for herself and keep up with her peers.

Family Connection of South Carolina provides services and resources to families who have a child with a disability or specialized healthcare need. Since 1990 we have served more than 100,000 families and today our services are needed more than ever. We focus on parent-to-parent support, guidance with navigating the complex healthcare system, and assistance with school meetings and special education plans.

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