On April 22, 2012, Zoo Atlanta, The Dempster Family Foundation and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, welcomed more than 150 22q guests to a day at the Zoo!
Families traveled from all over the states of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee to support the cause. The day was a wonderful way for families to interact with one another, take photos and build new friendships. The Ryan and Jenny Dempster Family Foundation along with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Zoo Atlanta teamed up again to “Strike out 22q” as one of the Zoos that participated in the Worldwide Awareness Day.
The day kicked off at 10 a.m. in front of the Zoo Atlanta gates. Families were treated to an unique speaking engagement by 22q family member, Mr. Quinn Bradlee. Quinn is the author of “A Different Life: Growing Up Learning Disabled and Other Adventures.” He was born with a hole in his heart that required invasive surgery when he was only three months old. Quinn Bradlee suffered from a battery of illnesses—seizures, migraines, fevers—from an early age. But it wasn’t until he was fourteen that Bradlee was correctly diagnosed with Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome (VCFS). Bradlee tells his own inspirational story of growing up as an LD kid—and of doing so as the child of larger-than-life, formidably accomplished parents: long-time Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee and bestselling author Sally Quinn. Bradlee describes the challenges and joys of living “a different life” with disarming candor and humor. Quinn spoke to the families, answered questions and signed books to end the inspirational day of hope, fun and 22q! The Dempsters were grateful for the outpouring of support from our 22q community and Mr. Quinn Bradlee for another great event. (We will post an edited version Quinn’s presentation at a later date on dempsterfoundation.org —please check back!)
In addition, our 22q families struck up support for the Johnson Family from Tuscaloosa, AL. The Johnson’s 8 year old son Anthony was diagnosed with DiGeorge. Their house had been reduced to rubble and both cars destroyed by the Tuscaloosa tornado in 2011. The Dempster Family Foundation collected close to $200 in cash and gift cards along with kitchen items for their home that is being rebuilt right now during the 22q at the Zoo event. The Dempster Family and other athletes and organizations have been helping the Johnson’s as they get their feet back on the ground!
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