What a blessing, three beautiful daughters! As a parent, our prayer at the birth of each child would be for health. And at times, our prayers are answered in ways we could never imagine. Three years ago, Mrs. Laura Howard gave birth to the youngest of her daughters, Faith, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
Down syndrome is a genetic condition that causes delays in physical and intellectual development and occurs in one of every 691 live births. It is not related to race, nationality, religion or socioeconomic status. It is important to know that individuals with Down syndrome are more like others than they are different. While they do experience developmental delays, they also have many talents and gifts and should be given the opportunity and encouragement to develop them.
As a member of the East Texas Down Syndrome Group, Mrs. Howard has become an advocate for those with Down syndrome and their families. This year she is serving as co-chairman of the tenth annual East Texas Down Syndrome Buddy Walk, which will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 22, at Teague Park in downtown Longview. It is a wonderful, heart-warming event that celebrates the many abilities and accomplishments of people with Down syndrome. Last year the local Buddy Walk gathered nearly 800 walkers and raised more than $31,000. Nationally, walkers raised more than $11 million to benefit programs and services as well as the national advocacy initiatives that benefit all individuals with Down syndrome.
“It fills my heart to be able to help out and give to an organization and community that reached out to me when I needed them most,” Mrs. Howard said.
Mrs. Howard was born in Gilmer, Texas, and graduated from Big Sandy High School in Big Sandy, Texas. She and her husband, Wayne, are celebrating their seventeenth wedding anniversary today, October 16! Their daughters, Paige, 12, and Hope, 10, are the older sisters of Faith. The Howards are members of Perryville United Methodist Church.
“There is no place I would rather live than the East Texas area,” Mrs. Howard said. “It means the world to me to have family, friends, and kind people around me.”
If you would like more information on the East Texas Down Syndrome Group and the tenth annual Buddy Walk, please visit www.etdsg.org.