Lila’s family and friends believe sharing her story and dispelling myths of those with Down syndrome and other disabilities is why they were chosen for this journey.
Early on, their family appeared at fundraising events for Children’s Hospital in Columbia, including the B106 Radiothon, the Publix Miracle balloon campaign and several recruitment efforts. Soon after, the hospital foundation staff asked the Mozingo family to be a part of the University of South Carolina Dance Marathon and allow Lila to be one of several local Miracle Kids. They quickly agreed and have participated each year, allowing the college students to get to know Lila as they attend events together throughout each year.
Team Lila also participates in the annual Columbia Buddy Walk, held in October during National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Since their first walk in 2011 when Lila was just six months old and two weeks out from open heart surgery, they have raised more than $10,000 for Family Connection of South Carolina. The organization was instrumental in providing hope to Padgett and her husband Mark when they received Lila’s diagnosis of a heart defect and Down syndrome before her birth.
Becoming a parent is the most rewarding – and terrifying – role for anyone. But when you know your child will face challenges, it adds a new dimension. Admittedly, Padgett says it wasn’t until Lila’s second birthday that she felt she’d truly accepted the challenge of being the mother of a child with special needs. But, today, she knows she doesn’t want to change Lila at all. Instead, she wants to change the world for Lila.
Padgett, often accompanied by Lila, her big brother Garrett and her husband Mark, eagerly share their story and the valuable lessons learned – all for one purpose, to dispel the myths falsely associated with Down syndrome.
A few of those lessons focus on getting past appearances, building a community, inclusion in the classroom and more. Click here to request a presentation at your church, school, business or professional organization.
The Mighty online community has proven to be an incredible source of comfort to us but also an outlet to share our efforts for inclusion and acceptance.
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