The birth of a child with a disability, or the discovery that a child has a disability, can have
profound effects on the family. Although Christopher’s birth was a life changing experience,
without him, I would not have become who I am.

It was Christopher’s inspiration, the warmth of his ever-present hugs, the love in his eyes, that
forged my second career, the path to raising millions of dollars to support acceptance and
inclusion of people with disabilities across the continent. He is the inspiration for a Foundation
in support of the Caregiving community that bears his name. Kids like Chris, turn moms like me
into warrior moms.

I will always remember the pain; it ached in a particular way when I looked at this special son
and considered all the things he would never be able to do. Ho would not go to college, have a
family of his own home, run for political office; (although I can’t help but believe he would have
done a better job than many). What he would do, is love unconditionally and change the world
for the better.

When Christopher was born, I was told by the experts that I should not expect much, that I
should institutionalize him, that he would live a short life, that I should forget about him.
But instead, I would watch him as he slept, seeing the peace in his face and the promise of love
that he always inspired.

I have gone through many changes in my life, forging a new path forward from abuse survivor,
to dancer, to disability advocate and now a respected fundraising leader. Every step on that
path has been one that has been cushioned and uplifted by the deep and abiding bond with my
special son. This is something inside all parents, all mothers: the overwhelming love for our
children that can push us to be better people and help us to overcome obstacles that would
bring most to their knees.

My two boys Christopher and Jason will always be my biggest gifts in life. Although Christopher
is no longer physically here, I feel that incredible tug of sweetness, that unique feeling of
motherly love that has inspired me since the day he was born. Christopher was my first son; my
first great gift and I will always be forever grateful that he was born to me.