DENVER (KDVR) — Michelle Sie Whitten runs an international non-profit organization and she does it with an incredible amount of passion, knowledge, and skill.
Whitten’s background is in the cable industry, but 17 years ago she found out while pregnant that her baby girl had down syndrome.
Whitten tells reporter Natalie Tysdal, “it was kind of a tough diagnosis… even at that beginning point, I was shocked at how many medical professionals along the way, all the way up until my 34th week were really pushing me to terminate”.
Whitten wanted information and education, but instead of waiting for it, she decided to go out and find it.
With the help of her family, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation was born. Within 11 years, it has grown into something that is changing lives around the world.
The foundation is robust.
Their website has many links and a support system helping families internationally.
Whitten says, “Every week, it’s exciting. Every week, we make a difference. Every week, I learn something new. And, that’s really important for me cause we, you know, we do a magazine, we do conferences, we do events, we do lobbying, we do marketing.”
The foundation’s goal is to improve the lives of people with down syndrome, and they have done that in abundance.
Whitten says, “Today the lifespan of a person with down syndrome is 60, and I think we deserve better. In the 80s it was 28 and look at how far we have come. I want to see our children and our adults be able to live a longer life and healthier lives.”
Whitten says that worldwide there are somewhere between seven and nine million people with down syndrome.
Whitten is the first to say that having a daughter born with down syndrome changed her life and overall helped her appreciate quality-of-life over achievement.
Congratulations to Michelle Sie Whitten and all of our Fox31/Channel 2 news remarkable women.