MEET OUR TEAM
DANIELLE + CONOR
My name is Danielle and my son, Conor, is the inspiration behind Baskets of Love. We live in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Conor was diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome by amniocentesis at 20 weeks old. I will never forget that phone call and the moments shortly after. It was a beautiful Thursday afternoon and I heard the words as I looked out over Vancouver. "Danielle, your baby has Down syndrome." There were a lot of tears that night and the days to follow. We were grieving a dream we thought we lost. We were scared of what lay ahead. It seemed like something bigger than we could handle, and that we were alone.
But we were not alone. We learned that there really are beautiful people in the world that have walked the road ahead of us, who were and are happy to guide us through. The very first mom of a child with Down syndrome that I spoke with after Conor's diagnosis listened to me, and let me cry my eyes out. She reassured me that everything I was feeling was completely normal, and that everything was going to be okay. As I thanked her, she told me that many years ago someone did the same thing for her, and that one day I will do the same thing for someone else.
So here I am. I'm here trying to be that person for someone else. Let me welcome you to the Down syndrome community with open arms, ready to listen and offer you our Basket of Love.
Today, Conor has shown us that we never lost our dream. He's more than we could have ever imagined. He is an amazing little boy with a smile that lifts our hearts. His laugh makes you laugh. He is curious, determined, stubborn and looks just like his daddy.
Yes, I think about Down syndrome. Right now though, it doesn't mean a lot. Being Conor's mom and his advocate mean more.
One day Conor will know that there was a time when I was very scared to be his mom. For that I will always be sorry. But he will also know that even though I was scared, my love for him was stronger than the fear. And that he has brought us nothing but pride and joy. And that I can't wait to spend the rest of our lives together.
HEATHER + WYATT + KASON
Central Vancouver Island
My name is Heather and my sons, Wyatt and Kason are blessed with an extra chromosome. We live on Vancouver Island. My story started differently than most people. I am blessed to have an Auntie and three brothers with Down syndrome in my life. My family welcomed my brothers through the gift of adoption. I loved growing up surrounded by them and I am so grateful to have had such a rich and adventurous childhood.
Fast forward to my mid-twenties. I felt that there was a son waiting for me across the ocean and I couldn’t shake the feeling. So I pursued adoption and 17 months after I started the process, my oldest son Wyatt walked out of a Bulgarian institution's doors for the last time in 2015. Our journey hasn't been easy but he is worth every mountain we have climbed. Wyatt is growing and exploring and learning. He loves to climb, jump and swing. He has taught me to celebrate each milestone no matter how small or big they are.
In 2017, I got a surprise call from MCFD to ask me to meet a 6 year old with Down Syndrome who was waiting for his forever family. We met Kason in the fall of 2017 and he moved in the summer of 2018 and in 2019 he officially became a member of the Keno family. He has a great sense of humour and loves life. He is a charmer and loves people. He is the missing piece we didn't know was missing.
Our family look forward to welcoming you into the Down syndrome community in Central Vancouver Island. We hope that you know there are families who are excited to embrace you and walk through this new journey with you.
Awaken Creations Photography
DANIELLE + LINKEN
My name is Danielle and I am the lucky mom of Linken, Eliona, and Madelaina. Linken surprised us at birth with his Down syndrome diagnosis. To be honest the beginning was very scary for us. There was the fear of the unknown. This was a path my husband and I had never walked before. I held Linken closer and knew that whatever the journey held we would do it together. He looked at me with adoration, like I was the best person in the world, and he immediately stole my heart and he still does to this very day!
Our journey thus far has been blessed with far more joy and fun adventures than I would have predicted from that first week in the hospital. I absolutely love his smile, his outlook on life, and his unconditional love for those in his life. We have learned so much from him. I adore the relationship and strong bond he has with his older sister, Ellie, and younger sister, Maddy. He is phenomenal to be around and he has brought an aspect to my life I would never ever give back. Our family is truly the lucky ones to have him in our lives (even at 5:00 a.m. when he wakes you with his laugh smile, and cozy cuddles).
Welcome to the Down syndrome community - we are glad you are here!
CYNTHIA + QUINN
My name is Cynthia and I’m the mother to two beautiful girls and wife to one lucky husband! We live in beautiful Invermere, BC.
In 2013 our family welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Quinn. Minutes after giving birth my husband was told by the pediatrician that they suspected Quinn has Down syndrome. Two weeks later the diagnosis was confirmed and our T21 journey began.
As with most parents who receive such news, there was definitely a chunk of time where we grieved the loss of a future we were expecting, as first time parents we were scared of the unknown and knew that we had to educate ourselves about Down syndrome and how to best support our daughter. Quinn very quickly stole our hearts and her unique personality shines through. Now the fact that she has Down syndrome is a second thought - she is Quinn - her own person, not her diagnosis. Down syndrome is just one of the many traits that help make her who she is.
In those earlier days and months something was missing for me... a connection and sense of community. We had friends with children, but none of them “got it” and I soon began to feel isolated and knew I needed to find a community of people who have been on this journey. People I could lean on for support, ask questions when I had them, celebrate successes when they came, and confide in when the fears and worries crept in. A community of people who just “get it” - no judgement, no criticism, just love, acceptance, and genuine understanding of what I was going through because they were on the journey as well.
In 2014 I created the BC Parents of Individuals with Down Syndrome Facebook group. I am so proud of what the group has become and the community we have created.
In those early days I longed for a connection to another family who was experiencing the same thing we were going through - someone who understood what our “new normal” was all about. Baskets of Love is just that - the opportunity to connect, find a community, and know that you and your family belong and that you are not alone on this journey.
So I say to you - Congratulations and welcome to the T21 Club! I can’t wait to meet you!!
Lyndsay Guglielmin Photography