She was rushed to another hospital and I couldn’t see her. When I walked through the lobby that night, just after having a C-section, the elderly volunteer at the front desk asked me, “Are you the mother of the Down Syndrome baby?” This made me stop in my tracks. Why did she call her that and why did she need to know. After a little time, I told her yes. She said “God Bless You.” I thought to myself, why do I need to be blessed? What does this mean?
Well, I know now what it means. I was truly blessed by being selected to be this beautiful young lady’s mother. Olivia exudes only joy and love. In everything she does, she worries about others and wants to make things better and happy. Why can’t we all just have a little of this perspective?
Thankfully, the hole in her heart healed up on its own with surgery. We got by that hurdle. The next 17 years would be supporting her, educating her, caring for her, and educating the society in which we live—from how you look at her, how you talk with her, how you treat her, how you include her, how you celebrate her, how you tell her to not notice things that people do and say. Helping her was the easy part. Helping society will be a long journey for us.
We’ve taken a pledge that this is our calling. We will dedicate ourselves to educating on inclusion, sometimes even forcing the situation. We felt that once she was “there,” people might understand just a little more and possibly spread this understanding to others where they may “include” too. When we are raising our children, we seek for the understanding of the skills and passions they have. As in any individual, we are all different and try to do things to accentuate our good skills. That’s the same thing with Olivia. We saw her shine when a camera came close by and saw her watch others and imitate their movements and looks. She started studying models and actors and found a skill that not many people have. When she models, you see a whole different Olivia where she shows confidence and creativity. Olivia can use her whole self to advocate for inclusion and showing the world that “differences” are OK. Remember, she’s a whole lot more LIKE us than she is DIFFERENT from us.
She started in some small, local fashion shows. The great people she’s worked with recognized that passion and the need for inclusion in our world and asked her to share her passion with others on a bigger scale. Ohio Fashion Week, Miami Fashion Week, “Greatest Growth in Modeling” Award, New York Fashion Week twice, Paris Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week, and recently won the prestigious “2020 Fashion and Excellence Award of Achiever & Inspiring Model of the Year” at the Dubai World Fashion Week in December 2020. She is also Miss Ohio Miss Amazing Queen.
Magazines are calling her asking for interviews. Designers are reaching out for representation. A London-based design magazine just requested her to be an “Ambassador.” The word is getting out there, but we’re not even close to where we need to be. Hot off the presses: Olivia was just awarded by FutureGen Comics the role of superhero – Prima Diva – as the 1st female superhero since Wonder Woman! Her role is to spread inclusion and kindness all over the world!
To all the believers and supporters, we can’t thank you enough; keep up the good work. There will be a day when we can look back and not understand why we excluded people with”differing abilities.” I can’t wait for that day to come.