A Surrey mother is spearheading a crowd-funding campaign to support families with children who have Down syndrome.
Theresa Preston began her Indiegogo campaign, called Changing Lives, in order to raise $60,000 for the Lower Mainland Down Syndrome Society’s initiatives.
The non-profit society, which connects and supports families from all over the Lower Mainland – including a number from South Surrey and White Rock – is aiming to provide financial assistance to those struggling to pay for services needed for their special-needs children.
For example, the Fleetwood resident explained, hiring a speech and language pathologist to work with a child with Down syndrome can cost up to $125 per hour.
“Most of the kids will probably have to go once a week at least for speech therapy,” Preston said. “If our child is in elementary school, sometimes they are provided with a Band-Aid solution, and they are given a speech-therapy session for 20 minutes, but that’s not enough.
“This kids need more than that.”
Preston, whose 27-year-old daughter, Chantel, was diagnosed with Down syndrome, has been an active member of LMDSS since its inception in the late 1980s.
“It was a rocky start,” Preston recalled when her daughter was diagnosed. “We reached out to the community and found that we’re all going through the same thing.
“Information was really scarce at that time, and the society was born from that.”
Money raised through the crowd-funding campaign will also go to oral-placement therapy, music therapy, outreach and educational support.
“Everything comes with a price,” Preston said. “As a parent, we don’t receive any (funding).
“Every parent has different issues that come up.”
The group also has an outreach-support team, which visits new parents and shares the different support systems available to them.
“We’ve become a family,” Preston said. “It’s time to bring awareness for people who have Down syndrome,” she said. “I think the society has taught me how to advocate for my child, and it’s helped (members) learn what’s available out there, in terms of education and different techniques.
“I just want to make a difference.”