Federal Way Girl receives 2021 Whitney Bellinghausen Community Service Award

0

Small blessings appear in the Federal Way community in October to honor Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

Each sign contains information about Down syndrome and urges others to stop using outdated and inappropriate words to describe the syndrome.

These “blessings” are placed throughout Federal Way by Arianna Graham, 6, and her mother Andrea. Arianna was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before she was born and was adopted by the Graham family.

However, Andrea Graham says they are working to shift the focus from awareness to acceptance.

“The world is aware of the existence of Down syndrome, and that’s part of the problem,” said Andrea Graham. “We want people to accept and see that it is not a burden, that it is not a test. She is quite amazing and she makes us smile… She loves her community.

On October 14, the Grahams visited South King Fire and Rescue Station 62 to meet with the firefighters on duty. Andrea or Arianna didn’t know, they were going to have a surprise.

Arianna is the recipient of the 2021 Whitney Bellinghausen Community Service Award for her advocacy and positivity in the community, said SKFR Captain Brad Chaney.

Presented by the South King Firefighters Foundation, the Whitney Bellinghausen Community Service Award honors an individual who has given of their time and talent to make the community a better place.

The award is named after the daughter of a former South King fire captain. Whitney tragically died in a traffic accident in 2007, but during her short life she was dedicated to helping others and giving back to the community.

“[I’m] shocked and a little moved because it’s an honor, ”Graham said. “We are not doing this for glory or for recognition. We do this to share who she is and how she has changed our life for the better. ”

Over the past year, Arianna has missed seeing her community, like her friends from the Federal Way Police Department or the Fire Department, said Andrea Graham. The family worked to find new ways to connect with others, spread love, and educate people about Down syndrome.

Each sign of “blessings” is adorned with butterflies – painted with three lines in the middle, representing the third copy of the 21st chromosome that all people with Down’s syndrome have – symbolizing that Arianna is the social butterfly of the Graham family.

Graham’s latest book, I am Arianna, was released in March 2020 and another book is in the works. For more information, visit the “I am Arianna” Facebook page or loveeverychromosome@gmail.com.

Arianna Graham, center, with members of South King Fire & Rescue. Olivia Sullivan / The Mirror

Throughout the year, Andrea and Arianna place signs around Federal Way to spread kindness and promote acceptance of Down syndrome.  Olivia Sullivan / The Mirror

Throughout the year, Andrea and Arianna place signs around Federal Way to spread kindness and promote acceptance of Down syndrome. Olivia Sullivan / The Mirror

Arianna Graham dons a firefighter's helmet and a new badge sticker at Station 62 on October 14.  Olivia Sullivan / the Mirror

Arianna Graham dons a firefighter’s helmet and a new badge sticker at Station 62 on October 14. Olivia Sullivan / the Mirror



Source link

Share.

Comments are closed.