Peace, Presence, Love, Intuition

When I think of Anna, I think of four words: Peace, Presence, Love, and Intuition. It is ironic that those qualities are what most women, mothers and human beings yearn for in this life. I know I DO. Since I have known Anna, the image of her smile comes to my mind’s eye when I get stressed, feel unpresent and out of the “love space”. Anna is a unique individual like all of us, and yet she has Down syndrome. Her lack of intellect, or challenge to learn, according to the standards of our society makes me question our standards and our reality. Her compassion, love and presence makes all of us in the “accepted” intellectual realm look very lacking! She has so much to teach, as do all mentally handicapped individuals. We only have so much time to sink into certain areas, and when each person slows down, “smells the roses”, enjoys the present moment, it is a gift in itself. Anna has been a gift to me and to her family, friends and community for this very reason.

I ask that you take a few moments of your time and sink into this moment to expand your awareness about Down syndrome so that you can educate others in your community.

For more information go to the National Down Syndrome Society’s web page under the FAQ section

What is Down syndrome? Down syndrome occurs when an individual has three, rather than two copies, of the 21st chromosome. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.

• Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies is born with Down syndrome.

• There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.

• Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.

• The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age ofthe mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.

• People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.

• A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.

• Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades – from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.

• People with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.

• All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.

• Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care, and positive support from family, friends and the community enable people with Down syndrome to develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.

• Researchers are making great strides in identifying the genes on Chromosome 21 thatcause the characteristics of Down syndrome. Many feel strongly that it will be possible to improve, correct or prevent many of the problems associated with Down syndrome in the future.

At Women For One, we are embarking on an exciting adventure of giving. We are asking our readers to spread the word each month about resources, giving and volunteering in new areas of interest.

This month we will be asking the greater Women For One community to pledge $1, $5, or $100 to Anna’s Angels Foundation on behalf of Anna and all of her angels she supports with the foundation’s work. In the future we will set up a more streamlined giving program but for now, we ask that you go to Anna’s Angels Foundation to pledge any amount to this incredible cause.

1 minute of presence, gratitude and love can indeed change the world. I ask you to give this gift to yourself and to the world.


This picture is of Michelle, Director of Anna’s Angels Foundation and more importantly, Anna’s mom. She is carrying Anna over the finish line of a 10 mile fundraiser for Anna’s Angels. Michelle not only created and coordinated this race – but RAN IN IT HERSELF! This picture is the perfect representation of the bond between a mother and daughter. An example of how we all carry our children through life, love them, support them, and teach them anything can be achieved if you have the heart and resolve to accomplish it.

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About the Author | Kelly McNelis

Kelly McNelis is the founder of global community, Women for One, a speaker, coach, facilitator, and bestselling author of Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman. With more than 25 years of experience as a nonprofit and small-business consultant, Kelly empowers generations of women around the world to build the relationships, community, and confidence they need to achieve their wildest dreams. She finds daily inspiration in spending time with her husband and children in her home outside of Seattle.

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