I have always been one of those guys that wanted to do the manly things, play football, ride a harley, be cool, be tough and have a bit of a hard ass image. And all of that was true up until February 16, 2001 when the most amazing thing happened, my son Nash arrived and changed my life for good.
If you have read my blog or know me personally you know that many aspects of the BigDawg have changed over the years. If you are reading this you probably know that Nash has Down syndrome or Trisomy 21 and is the coolest dude I know and my best buddy.
Recently we had the opportunity for Nash to be on the cover of Indy's Child a parenting magazine here in Central Indiana along with some of our friends children and one of the mom's in our wonderful groups known as The Indiana Down Syndrome Foundation (IDSF) and Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome (DADS). Our group had purchased this opportunity at a fundraiser for another group earlier this year. Our Executive Director and the Magazine worked out the details and we believed that the issue was to be about summer fun. Why else would they have our kids pose in the pool at a cool waterpark located in our nicest Holiday Inn here in Indy.
Well Friday was a crazy day as I was trying to get out of the shop early and head home. As some of you may know I left the for profit world for the not for profit world a few years ago and am the CEO for a company that works with individuals with different abilities. Well one thing led to another and I got stuck selling one of our older vans to a church among things and finally left for my most important tasks of the day. I had to take care of two pieces of business. First I had to pick up our section of tickets to the upcoming Wiggles Concert here in Indy. I can assure you in my Harley riding beer drinking days I never thought I would spend and evening with Jeff, Anthony, Greg and Murray but this will be round two with the blokes from down under as Nash loves these guys. My second priority was to stop by our local grocery and pick up as many copies of Indy's Child as I could get as they just hit the stand and our Nash was on the cover.
Well got the tickets and slid into Marsh Supermarkets and quickly grabbed a huge stack and booggied to the car. Once inside I admired my son on the cover with a big smile and then my heart sank to my stomach. Right above our kids was a caption that read "Undertanding the results is key for prenatel screening tests". Without going further I knew I did not want to go home as my wife Jan had been on pins and needles waiting on this to hit the stands and knew she would be devestated. When I read the article it got worse. I am not going to go into all of that but if you want to know more about the article and see the pictures ect see Jan's blog at Mauzy's Musings link here on my blog. I would insert a link here but damned if I know how.
Bottom line it was all about finding out if you child has Down syndrome or not with out providing the least bit of positive information or resources. I was in shock.
Well the old me would have taken my old truck and loaded it with all the copies I could find and driven it right thru the front doors of Indy's Child for them to find when they returned to work. And who knows what else.
But an amazing thing happened thanks to being Nash's daddy. I knew I was mad and hurt that basically this magazine had made my son a poster child of for testing and decesions without information, but I also know that if you get off the porch to run with the big dawgs sometimes you are gonna get bit.
Well we had just been chomped on......and I knew the only thing I could do was try to turn this whole thing around. I had to keep in my mind that this was just a really dumb mistake and no one at the magazine connected the dots on what they had done. That they were not trying to do this on purpose. So I started making phone calls. Talked to some of the best people in the disability and down syndrome movement that I know. Jan went to work telling the world and I am sure that Indy's Child's web site has never had the traffic or letters to the editor that they have right now.
The next step will be to have a constructive discussion with the staff at Indy's Child and figure out how to right this wrong and I know that it can be done. I know that we just might be able to turn this situation into one of the most positive PR campaigns we have ever seen here in Indiana. At least I know that is my goal. I mean hey, they are about to find out what it feels like to run with the BIGDAWGS.
I am so proud of my son and I hope that someday he realizes how much of a difference he has made in his daddy's life.
I will hopefully update this situation soon.
Until then I hope you all get off the porch and step out of your comfort zone this week and do something positive you have been putting off. You might get bit but you will be a better person for it.
The BigDawg....AKA Nash's Daddy.