Support group for parents of children with Down syndrome growing in Winnipeg

The Baby Love event brings together parents of children with Down syndrome.

Being told her child was diagnosed with Down syndrome, raised a lot of questions for DeeDee Lauzon.

The mom of five attended a Baby Love event after her three-year-old daughter Emalyn was born in 2014.

“We make sure that we go to every single one of them. It’s something our family looks forward to all the time. It’s a great resource for connecting with other families. It’s been a good support,” she said. “I was able to feel that support from other families. Now that Emalyn is a little older and there are new people being introduced to the community, I’m on the flip side of that.”

Baby Love organizer Kris Yunker said the event is designed to be a support group for parents.

“It’s kind of uncertain times when you have a diagnosis with Down syndrome so it’s a safe place for parents to meet to talk about hard things, fun things, success, all that kind of stuff,” she said.

The event has been going on for more than a decade in Manitoba, and it’s just grown.

“We decided that once a year wasn’t enough. So now we host it twice a year, in April and October. What we try to do is bring new families together and seasoned families,”former organizer Joan Giles Kolbauer said. “So they get to see each other over and over again and form friendships.”

 Ruth Joseph has Down syndrome and she has been going to the event for years. On Saturday she sat behind the registration desk but her favourite part is the socializing.

“I love cuddling with babies and the good food,” she said.

It’s the community aspect that really draws in parents like Micheline Girardin, whose 7-year-old son has Down syndrome.

“We meet other families and their brothers and sisters and we just have a party basically and through that we can get connected for services, or questions or tips or tricks or conversations you might not be comfortable having with other family members or friends and you walk away with new ideas about how to cope and grow.”

The next Baby Love event will be taking place in October.


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