Summer has been very busy and interesting.
A few weeks ago I travelled to Indianapolis, Indiana to attend the National Down Syndrome Conference. If you are a sports fan you already know Indianapolis is famous for the Indy 500 Car Race. This year is the 98th running of the race. On the conference floor they had a car which we sit in for fun and pictures. I am happy that they didn’t start the car – too much noise!
On our way to the conference we had a delayed flight out of Toronto. When we arrived in New York we had to rush to catch our next plane. I do not walk very quickly so my Mum explained that I needed to ride in a wheelchair to get to the next terminal. WOW that was embarrassing!! Mothers! My mum always has a plan! We did make the flight…barely.
The weekend was all about families and friendship while learning new idea’s. My American friends and I spent time catching up on what we are busy with in our home towns. There was lots of time for fun, laughter, eating, and course dancing.
Part of the conference is a film festival. We viewed many new films staring actors born with Down Syndrome. My favourite was, Produce: Where Hope Grows. This movie tells a story of how a young man working in a grocery store helps a stranger turned friend how to deal with the struggles of his life. Everyone should see this movie. Next year they should think about giving everyone Kleenex. This was a wonderful and real story line.
Friends are so important to me even if I only see them in person once a year. I know I am blessed to have such good friends. Smile and think of all the amazing people in your corner.
Looking outside and seeing the sunshine makes me think about many memories that I have of travelling. Edmonton is lovely in the spring, summer and fall but the winter makes me feel blah!
I feel very lucky that I was able to go to Honolulu with my mum and sister this year. It is beautiful and warm. When I spend time there my favourite thing to do is hang out by the pool, have a cute guy bring me drinks and then walk to Yogurtland. Those are the best days!
Another thing I love to do there is see my friends who live on the island. It is a wonderful thing to be able to have friends in different parts of the world. My Hawaiian friends are doing some wonderful work on behalf of people with Down syndrome. As a family we have been able to help them and the families they support. I have been able to show people that their child with Down syndrome will grow up to have hopes, dreams and goals.
I have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit. Some of my favourites places have been Scottsdale, Grand Cayman (not during Hurricane season), and to visit family in British Columbia.
As much as I like to travel I feel that it can throw off my routine. What this has taught me is that when I am away, if I need something, that I need to speak up for myself. This way people can understand me a little better.
One day I really hope to visit Jamaica because that is where “Cool Running’s” was filmed, Greece and Italy. Hopefully, if I get the chance to visit these places I can spread my message of hope for people with developmental disabilities.
This is a very exciting day as this is my first time writing on my blog. I want to welcome you to my website and to ask you to please come back and visit often.
I want my website and blog to inspire people in their lives by sharing my life experiences.
When I made my entrance into the world I was born with Down syndrome. What this means is I have 3 copies of the 21st chromosome.
*Down syndrome commonly results in an effect on learning style, although the differences are highly variable and individualistic, just as in the physical characteristics or health concerns. The most significant challenge is to find the most effective, productive methods of teaching each individual. The identification of the best methods of teaching each particular child ideally begins soon after birth, through early intervention programs.
Position Statement on Redefining Down Syndrome , Canadian Down Syndrome Society, Approved November 2003
The way that I like to look at it is that I was born with Designers Genes and my sister has to buy them!
I feel that I have had an interesting life full of happiness and some challenges. Which does not make me much different than anyone else. Something I know that connects all of us is that we are all given special talents and gifts. One of my gifts is that I have been given the ability to have a voice and to be an advocate on behalf of people born with Down syndrome. Life is not all about me but through my experiences I can lead the way for others and to help my friends be who they are meant to be.
My reward for being an advocate is knowing that I have done something to help others. It makes me feel that I have something to offer to our community.
As I get older and understand life a bit more I realize that people with disabilities are not that different from everyone else in this world. We are unique! We all need to be loved, cared about, and understood and to know that we have good people in our corner. This contributes to our well-being.
Thank you again for visiting my site. I hope that you will come back often and feel inspired and happy about life.
In December 2013 Tanya was featured in the Edmonton publication the Messenger.
Below is the copy from the article by Margaret Marschall
“I am gorgeous, talented, gifted; fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves me!” a chorus of voices echoed in unison at All Saints’ Cathedral. Pumping their fists in the air, the young Anglicans and their leaders joined the refrain of their impassioned dinner guest, the Archbishop of York.
As part of the Centennial celebrations of the Edmonton Diocese, the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Dr. John Sentamu and his wife, Margaret, sat down October 20 to a Sunday dinner of chicken stew and dumplings with more than 100 youth members from many parishes throughout Edmonton and surrounding communities.
Young people were invited by Bishop Jane Alexander, who prepared and hosted the meal with a little help from Cathedral clergy, Synod Office staff and several culinary assistants, to share with the Archbishop and their peers the ways faith has enabled them to be the change they want to see in the world. One woman said she discovered her heart for serving others while pursuing a Christian post-secondary education. A high school student said that his youth group is passionate about “meeting people where they are and going out beyond the four walls of their church.” A self-described “twenty-something” said her decision to become an active steward, rather than a passive spectator in church, has led to meaningful relationships and a richer faith experience. A young adult ministries leader said that learning to pray has been life-giving: providing her with a sense of self and direction.
“I work every day for acceptance,” said Tanya Ponich, 34, sharing her faith story. Confirmed at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Victoria, BC, Ponich is now an active member of Christ Church, Edmonton, where she attends with her mother Rosalind Mosychuk. She serves at the 8:00 am BCP service and volunteers at the monthly community dinners. The young woman born with Down syndrome is committed to helping others. She takes joy in working with pre-school age children in speech therapy at the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society. As a motivational speaker and advocate, Ponich says she uses her God-given talents to inspire hope, “just like the Archbishop.”
A strong believer in young people as leaders of change within their local communities, church and society, Sentamu, who has more than 40,000 Twitter followers, established the Archbishop of York’s Youth Trust (www.archbishopofyorkyouthtrust.co.uk/youth-trust/) in northern England. He is also Founder of Acts 435 an online Christian charity that connects people in need with people able and willing to provide assistance.
Most dinner guests hung around after the meal chatting in small groups and meeting youth from other parishes while waiting for a chance to greet and shake hands with the Archbishop, who happily gave out high-fives and hugs.
“This has been a thrilling evening,” said Bishop Jane. “My prayer is that we allow this enthusiasm of our young people to breathe in the communities they come from and that we truly listen to them and offer encouragement as they live out their vision of God.”