STORY OF GABRIELA CICOLINI Gabriela Dora Cicolini was born on March 8, 2011 at 12:03 AM. She was born 6 lbs 7 oz with exceptional scores of 8 and 9 on her APGAR. What was seemingly a very routine birth became anything but a few hours later when we were informed that our daughter very likely had Down Syndrome and had a heart defect that would most need surgery. Twelve hours later, she was also diagnosed with Transient Myeloprofilferative Disorder (TMD), which is a precursor to leukemia. She required a platelet transfusion that would save her from bleeding internally. Needless to say, the first few months of her birth were very trying, with the least of our concerns being Down Syndrome. She received heart surgery shortly after birth to repair her ASD’s and VSD and the TMD resolved itself a few months later. While the first few months of her life were emotional and challenging for all of our family, we would do it all over again to get this wonderful gift. Gaby is now just over 4 ½ years old and her early health concerns have been resolved. She has been released by both her cardiologist and oncologist and has been in remarkably healthy. Looking back on the situation today, it is sometimes hard to imagine that we ever questioned whether or not our daughter was going to live. We are very fortunate to have great support from family and friends, as well as access to some of the best hospitals and doctors in the world. When Gaby turned 3, she graduated from the Infants and Toddlers program and started preschool at Deer Crossing Elementary. She loves riding the bus every day and really enjoys school. Her development has been exceptional. She continues to impress her teachers and exceed all of our expectations. Her will and determination has only increased as she gets older. We are all looking forward to just how bright her future can be. Gaby is just one of many exceptional children with Down Syndrome. We meet a lot of wonderful children and their families in this group and we continue to be amazed at what these kids can accomplish. This is our family's 5th walk. We have greatly appreciated the support of our family and friends for Gabriela and this cause. We hope you can join us!!!! Ready…Set…Walk! It’s time to celebrate this fun filled day with family and friends and celebrate all individuals with Down Syndrome! We will have activities the whole family can enjoy such as a petting zoo, moon bounces, fun games, entertainment, food, speakers, and much, much more! Awards for the “Top Fundraising Team” and “Most Creative” will be announced shortly following the walk. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. will be hosting it’s 13th Annual Buddy Walk on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at the band shell area in Baker Park, located near beautiful downtown Frederick, Maryland. The event this year is from 10am to 2pm. Check-in/Registration opens at 9:00 am. Walk begins at 12:00 pm. When you check-in/register, you will receive your tee shirt(s). The approx. one mile/one-block walk begins and ends at the band shell in Baker Park.