Paige was born on 01/02/03, and while the consecutive digits seemed significant, another number came up that caused immediate concern for her parents.
“Within minutes Jim and I were told by a doctor that our daughter had trisomy 21, which is Down syndrome,” said Kelly Ditzel, staff recruiter in the human resources department at RIT. “Paige had three holes in her heart, underwent surgery at 5 months, and was hospitalized for several weeks with complications.
“It became a rocky road filled with physical, occupational and speech therapy; we couldn’t have done it without the support of numerous United Way programs.”
Paige started pre-school at CP Rochester, now attends the School of the Holy Childhood, and has blossomed into a high-functioning teenager who plays piano, rides her bike around her Fairport neighborhood, and participates in Irish dance, golf, hockey, basketball and Special Olympics skiing and swimming.
“She loves being with her brothers, Casey (16) and Zac (12), and has definite plans on how she wants to navigate her world,” said Kelly. “Jim and I encourage her independence and hope to inspire other families with children who have Down syndrome.