She may only be seven years old, but Chloe Kondrich has a resumé more impressive than most adults. She’s met Sen. John McCain and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, had a press conference with former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell and has been on the floor of the senate.
She’s graced the cover of magazines and the book "Making a Case for Life," played baseball with former Pittsburgh Pirate Andy LaRoche and her smile has even lit up Times Square in New York City.
Chloe’s charmed life is the result of her parents’ belief that she can do everything any other child does. In fact, from the minute she was born, her parents Kurt and Margie decided that Down syndrome is only something their beautiful daughter has: it’s not who she is.
“She’s Chloe. She’s bigger than Down syndrome. We’re so used to it, that it’s not important to us anymore,” Kurt said.
Spend some time with Chloe and you realize her parents are right. She’s a typical seven year old girl. She can be shy one minute and hug you the next. She loves eating spaghetti and going to the beach, and idolizes her older brother, Nolan.
Chloe is also exceptional in many ways. She learned to read at age three, and her reading is on par with her classmates at . She has a maturity beyond her years and can talk to just about anyone, no matter their age. And unlike most of us, Chloe’s childlike innocence and wonder can never be corrupted.
Kurt and Margie did not know their second child would be born with 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46, but they were smitten with their daughter from day one. In fact, Kurt refused to let anyone into the hospital room who was not there to celebrate the little bundle of joy.
Baby Chloe was only four weeks old when Margie began taking her to therapies.
“It was a lot of work. But I knew I had to find the best people to get her the best help or I’d live with regret,” Margie said.
Chloe’s special needs even changed the trajectory of her dad’s life. He gave up a career as a police officer to embark on a new path in early intervention, which provides services to infants and toddlers with developmental delays so that they may grow to their fullest potential. Kurt works tirelessly to educate people on the benefits of early intervention, part of that role includes talking with politicians.
“Politicians are decision makers, and many of them didn’t grow up around children with disabilities because these children used to be institutionalized,” Kurt said.
Chloe has met with many congressmen and senators, and has shown them that children with Down syndrome are full of hope, potential and light.
Kurt also works to educate people on the promise that lies within children with Down syndrome. Statistics show that 93 percent of expectant mothers chose abortion when they find out their baby had Down’s. Kurt hopes Chloe will help people change their minds and realize that every child, regardless of a special need, is a perfect child.
This week's Whiz Kid is proof that we all need to learn to look beyond the disability, and see the ability.
Learn more about Chloe and her life at http://www.chloesmessage.blogspot.com.