For this 9th day in my series of #29DaysofAwareness, I would like to share with all of you, one of the many events that took place last year to bring awareness to children, in particular GIRLS of all abilities. Miss Possibilities was born from the love of a mother and her first born child, Johanna.
Because of Gelli’s extra chromosome I have had the pleasure of meeting some really incredible people.
These people come from all walks of life, in all fields, and with or without families members who are extra special.
Sometimes, these people have been a source of strength and inspiration to me. Sometimes, I have shared parts of myself with them, knowing that they were looking for the same. Sometimes, these people aren’t even people whom I have met in real life. Others, are friends who were introduced to me by mutual friends or even relatives.
Today, I would like to tell you about my friend Suz. I first heard of Johnmel and Suzanne through one of Nino’s good friends, Jessie. Jessie’s son also attends the same school as Gia does, and they are in the same batch. (So that means that he and his wife Pie, were probably thinking the same things we were this past Saturday night as we sent both of our eldest children off to prom.)
Jessie expressed some concern one day and asked Nino and I for help. He said that Johnmel and Suzanne (who had just moved to Manila from the states) recently welcomed (at that time) a little girl with Down Syndrome into the world. She was their first baby. He asked us to lunch so that we could meet Suz and Johnmel, but unfortunately, because of our schedules we didn’t get together right away.
Instead, the first time we met in person was at the Early Intervention Seminar of November 2012. For that particular seminar, Nino and I were invited to share a little bit about how Early Intervention helped Evangelina reach her milestones. I should have shared more about our therapies and about the things that we did to nurture Gelli’s development. But I remembered what it was like to be sitting in those chairs with swollen eyes and that feeling of being lost. Instead, I chose to share an article I had written not long after Gelli’s birth. I read the article from my printed pdf copy of the magazine that it had been printed in earlier that year for Down Syndrome Consciousness Month.
This same piece was something that I shared with Suz through Jessie. I felt that if I could bare my soul to Suz…one mother to another…she would see that she wasn’t alone. She would see that there was hope in what seemed like a difficult situation.
Flash forward to 2015. Suz’s baby is now a toddler who reminds me of Gellibean when she was the same age. (In fact, sometimes, people would even say that Gelli and Joey could be sisters!) Suz and Johnmel welcomed another baby girl into the folds of their family, and Suz had a brilliant idea.
It all started with a poster that she saw while she was on Easter break 2014 back in California with the family. She saw this poster promoting a pageant for young girls with special needs.
Oh…did I forget to mention that Suz is Beauty Queen herself? She thought to herself that it would be nice to have such a beauty pageant here in the Philippines for girls with special needs who would want to showcase their talents.
And as she posted on Facebook, she realized that sometimes angels can come in the form of friendships. Her friend, Eric Teng, offered Mango Tree BGC as a venue for an event should she decide to pursue such an endeavor.
Out of this one hopeful post of a momma on Facebook, grew the idea for Miss Possibilities.
So, what does a momma who has an awesome idea do?
She tells her other momma friends and together they make magic happen.
And boy oh boy was there magic on October 7th last year!
Miss Possibilities was the first pageant for girls with special needs, here in Asia. To my knowledge, there has not been any other pageant of this kind before or since…and I’m so glad I was just a small part of it.
Thanks Suz. Thanks for including me. I cried so many happy tears that I think was dehydrated by 10pm.
But I think you already know me by now. I cry when I’m really happy and really grateful.
For questions, inquiries, and ways to donate please email firstname.lastname@example.org