The Upside of Down syndrome: "Along the Way"

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The upside of "Down syndrome".
That: is the focus of Rapid City's "Ups of Down's Family Support Group"
In this week's edition of "Along the Way", we hear the very personal perspective, of the loving mother who leads the group.

(We hear the sound of a child practicing violin.)
It's a sound many parents have heard...as their child learns to play music.

And this home is no different. Dennis and Mona Drolc are the proud and loving parents of their 4th grade son David. And, Mona is the President of the "Ups of Downs Family Support Group".

Mona Drolc, President of"'Ups of Down's" says, "When individuals find out they are gonna have a child born with Down syndrome, or even when they don't know and they find out, it's devastating because most of the time people don't know what Down syndrome is."

And neither did Mona. David world be their first child.

Mona Drolc says, "December 1st of 2006, we got the phone call that David was going to be born with Down syndrome, and it was probably 1 of the hardest days that a Mom to be, that you can imagine."

Ups of Downs is there for families in need of friendship, emotional support, and guidance on education and medical issues.

Mona Drolc, says, "But the biggest thing is, you have many, many individuals that have been told by the Doctors that your child is not gonna be able to do this, this, this, and this. And then they get to school and they're told well they're never gonna be able to do this, this, this."

And she says, while that did not happen to them, it has happened to many of her friends. While some talk about what they can't do, Mona knows what they can do. But more importantly, so does her son.

9 year old David Drolc says, "We do reading and we do recess and we do writing and we do a lot like Math, Science."

She says David is the only one at his school with Down syndrome. This year he got to join the orchestra.

(We hear David practicing the violin.)

The Drolc's have been involved in Ups of Downs since David was only month's old, when they went to their first "Buddy Walk", one of many "Buddy Walks" across America that are part of a National Organization. Mona's been the main organizer of the local event for the past 8 years.

Mona Drolc says, "To promote the awareness, inclusion, and acceptance of Down syndrome in our area."

She says they get about 90 percent of their funding from the Buddy Walk. It allows them to hold fun monthly events for kids with Down syndrome and get them out into the community.

Mona Drolc, President of 'Ups of Downs" says, "They're getting to be who they want to be. They don't have to worry about somebody you know being mean to them and calling them names and seeing their smiles"

Mona, who once didn't know much at all about Downs, is now a compelling advocate.

Mona says, "Just because they look a little different, just because they act a little different, they learn a little different, they still can be a very successful individual in the community, you just need to give them a chance."

David Drolc says, "Like I help my Dad when he mows the lawn and with painting and tiling and putting in carpet."

Where once there were tears of uncertainty; there are now tears of joy.

Mona says, "David is an individual who doesn't hate, doesn't get jealous, he can get his feelings hurt just like you and I. But everyday, it's Mom I love you. Mom you are so kind. You're so pretty."

An amazing little boy, who enjoys the same things as other kids, like video games, and movies.

Mona says, "So for those individuals out there who are trying to do it themselves, don't. Come and let us help you because it will change your world."

David Drolc says, "I'm the person of my own self and I'm brave, loyal, and so kind of people, and help people when they get hurt."

Mona Drolc says, "When it comes to the love for David, it's like to the moon and back 100 million, trillion, billion times"

(We hear David practicing the violin, and then see David take a bow.)

A happy boy, a loving family, the upside of Downs.

Mona says they have 80-90 families in their group. There's no charge to join. And the leadership is all volunteer.

If you've met someone cool "Along the Way" please call us, or e-mail me at stevel@blackhillsfox.com to let us know.