I’m so excited to introduce you to the Christopher Smith Foundation. It was inspired by the magnificent life and journey of my son Chris who was born with Down syndrome. This Foundation honors him and the generous caregiving community that embrace and care for society’s most vulnerable citizens. Many who know Christopher, and his story, have been touched by his ability to love unconditionally, and to overcome incredible challenges. His sweet innocence and calming smile have shown us all what it means to be truly human.
Watching my son grow and beat all of the self-limiting expectations set before him from birth, has filled my life with pride…and anxiety. It wasn’t easy to learn about the many physical problems Chris would endure throughout his lifetime. In addition to his intellectual disability, Chris did not have the capacity to communicate his feelings, and most of his pains and illnesses went unaddressed.
Over the years, Christopher developed Crohn’s disease, colitis, and respiratory issues leading to multiple bouts of pneumonia, leaving him fighting for his very life. When admitted into the hospital, he would not understand why strangers were poking needles into his body and sticking tubes down his throat. Not being able to communicate “where it hurts”, meant constant prodding and testing as the healthcare professionals did their best to work in the dark with an often uncooperative patient.
I tell you this not for the sake of pity. When you meet Chris, you know he is grateful for life and is generally the happiest guy on the planet. What I’m leading to is an expression of unwavering gratitude and immense respect for full-time caregivers, both at home and in hospital.
As our family spent incalculable hours over many years by his side in care facilities; we began having conversations and asking questions such as; “how can we help ensure these nurses feel appreciated? How can we inspire the younger generation to seek a career in this most noble field? How do we help the hospital staff support people like Chris, and how can we help exhausted families in similar situations?”
These questions, along with our desire to create a lasting legacy for our beloved Christopher, have led to the creation of this foundation.
Of course, a fancy website won’t do much to further our cause. There is much work to do. The need for caregiving has only grown, and families like ours are in need of YOUR help. Today, we can take actions that will affect tomorrow’s outcome, and the lives of those who are dependent on the care and attention of special healers.
A donation today will be put to immediate use towards the development and implementation of our programs. Programs that provide respite to families, scholarships to future caregivers and onsite hospital support to staff, and sitting services to patients.
The task before us is huge, and so is the need. Let Christopher’s story inspire you and others to take action. Join our cause and help us make the world a more caring and supportive place for special citizens like Christopher.
Thank you for taking the time to visit our website and consider our cause. Let’s take the next steps together in the spirit of caring for our most vulnerable loved ones.
LINDA SMITH – Founder, Chair, Disability Advocate